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University of California Berkeley 



California State Archives 
State Government Oral History Program 

Oral History Interview 


Legal Affairs Secretary, 1975-1980 

October 29, November 26, 1990 

April 16, 1991 
San Francisco, California 

By Germaine LaBerge 
Regional Oral History Office 
University of California, Berkeley 




This manuscript is hereby made available for research purposes only. No 
part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written 
permission of the California State Archivist or Regional Oral History Office, 
University of California at Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to: 

California State Archives 
1020 O Street, Room 130 
Sacramento, CA 95814 


Regional Oral History Office 
486 Library 

University of California 
Berkeley, CA 94720 

The request should include identification of the specific passages and 
identification of the user. 

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: 

J. Anthony Kline, Oral History Interview, Conducted 1990, 1991 by 
Germaine LaBerge, Regional Oral History Office, University of California 
at Berkeley, for the California State Archives State Government Oral 
History Program. 

March Fong Eu 
Secretary of State 

California State Archives 
1020 O Street, Room 130 
Sacramento, CA 95814 

Research Room 
Exhibit Hall 
Legislative Bill Service 
(prior years) 

(916) 445-4293 
(916) 445-4293 
(916) 445-4293 
(916) 445-2832 


On September 25, 1985, Governor George Deukmejian signed into law A.B. 2104 
(Chapter 965 of the Statutes of 1985). This legislation established, under the 
administration of the California State Archives, a State Government Oral History 
Program "to provide through the use of oral history a continuing documentation of 
state policy development as reflected in California's legislative and executive 

The following interview is one of a series of oral histories undertaken for 
inclusion in the state program. These interviews offer insights into the actual 
workings of both the legislative and executive processes and policy mechanisms. 
They also offer an increased understanding of the men and women who create 
legislation and implement state policy. Further, they provide an overview of issue 
development in California state government and of how both the legislative and 
executive branches of government deal with issues and problems facing the state. 

Interviewees are chosen primarily on the basis of their contributions to and 
influence on the policy process of the state of California. They include members 
of the legislative and executive branches of the state government as well as 
legislative staff, advocates, members of the media, and other people who played 
significant roles in specific issue areas of major and continuing importance to 

By authorizing the California State Archives to work cooperatively with oral 
history units at California colleges and universities to conduct interviews, this 
program is structured to take advantage of the resources and expertise in oral 
history available through California's several institutionally based programs. 

Participating as cooperating institutions in the State Government Oral History 
Program are: 

Oral History Program 

History Department 

California State University, Fullerton 

Oral History Program 
Center for California Studies 
California State University, Sacramento 

Oral History Program 
Claremont Graduate School 

Regional Oral History Office 
The Bancroft Library 
University of California, Berkeley 

Oral History Program 

University of California, Los Angeles 

The establishment of the California State Archives State Government Oral 
History Program marks one of the most significant commitments made by any 
state toward the preservation and documentation of its governmental history. It 
supplements the often fragmentary historical written record by adding an 
organized primary source, enriching the historical information available on given 
topics and allowing for more thorough historical analysis. As such, the program, 
through the preservation and publication of interviews such as the one which 
follows, will be of lasting value to current and future generations of scholars, 
citizens, and leaders. 

John F. Burns 
State Archivist 

July 27, 1988 

This interview is printed on acid-free paper. 

Participating as cooperating institutions in the State Government Oral History 
Program are: 

Oral History Program 

History Department 

California State University, Fullerton 

Oral History Program 
Center for California Studies 
California State University, Sacramento 

Oral History Program 
Claremont Graduate School 

Regional Oral History Office 
The Bancroft Library 
University of California, Berkeley 

Oral History Program 

University of California, Los Angeles 

The establishment of the California State Archives State Government Oral 
History Program marks one of the most significant commitments made by any 
state toward the preservation and documentation of its governmental history. It 
supplements the often fragmentary historical written record by adding an 
organized primary source, enriching the historical information available on given 
topics and allowing for more thorough historical analysis. As such, the program, 
through the preservation and publication of interviews such as the one which 
follows, will be of lasting value to current and future generations of scholars, 
citizens, and leaders. 

John F. Burns 
State Archivist 

July 27, 1988 

This interview is printed on acid-free paper. 





SESSION 1, October 29, 1990 

[Tape 1, Side A] 1 

Childhood and early education-College, graduate school, and law 
school-Law clerk to Justice Raymond Peters-Wall Street lawyer-Legal 
services programs-Public Advocates-Appointments secretary for Jerry 
Brown during transition, 1974- Jerry Brown's trust and friendship-Legal 
affairs secretary, 1975-1980 

[Tape 1, Side B] 15 

Political demands on elected officials-Gathering information before 
inauguration, 1974-Early "players"-Duties of legal affairs 
secretary-Extradition and clemency issues-Prison reform-Uniform 
Determinate Sentencing Act of 1976-Jerry Brown, a centrist on criminal 
justice issues. 

SESSION 2, November 26, 1990 

[Tape 2, Side A] 30 

The press-Judicial appointments and diversifying the courts-Court 
reform-Mandatory pre-trail arbitration-Bail reform-The power of bail 

[Tape 2, Side B not recorded] 

[Tape 3, Side A] 44 

Jerry Brown and the legislature-Brown's unconventionality-Cosmic view 
in problem solving: the medfly and fluoridation-Cabinet meetings. 

SESSION 3, April 16, 1991 

[Tape 4, Side A] 52 

Bail reform, 1989-Workers' Compensation System-Power of the Third 
House-Agricultural Labor Relations Act, 1975-Water issues: 160-acre 
limit-Experience on the bench. 

[Tape 4, Side B] 64 

San Francisco Superior Court, 1980-1 982 -Views on the legal profession 
and legal process-Rose Bird as chief justice-Success of Jerry Brown as 

[Tape 5, Side A] 76 

Diversity in state government. 



Germaine LaBerge 

Editor, University of California at Berkeley State Archives 

State Government Oral History Program 
Member, State Bar of California (inactive status) 
B.A. Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York (History) 
M.A. Marygrove College, Detroit, Michigan (Education) 

Interview Time and Place 

October 29, 1990 

Judge Kline's chambers, San Francisco, California 
Session of one hour 

November 26, 1990 

Judge Kline's chambers, San Francisco, California 
Session of one and one-half hours 

April 16, 1991 

Judge Kline's chambers, San Francisco, California 
Session of one and one-half hours 


The interviewer/editor checked the verbatim manuscript of the interview 
against the original tape recordings; edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and 
spelling; verified proper names and prepared footnotes. Insertions by the editor 
are bracketed. 

Judge Kline reviewed the transcript and approved it with minor 

The interviewer/editor prepared the introductory materials. 

Judge Kline's publications are listed following the interview. 

Tapes and Interview Records 

The original tape recordings of the interviews are in The Bancroft Library, 
University of California at Berkeley. Records relating to the interview are at the 
Regional Oral History Office. Master tapes are deposited in the California State 



J. Anthony Kline was born August 17, 1938, in New York City. He 
graduated from Johns Hopkins University with honors in 1960. He pursued 
graduate studies at Cornell University as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, receiving 
his M.A. in 1962. At Yale University he received the Gherini and Sutherland 
Cup prizes and earned his law degree in 1965. 

After graduation from law school Justice Kline served as law clerk to 
Justice Raymond E. Peters of the California Supreme Court. Thereafter he was 
for four years an attorney in New York with the Wall Street firm of Davis Polk 
and Wardwell. In 1971, after returning to California, he was one of the 
founders of Public Advocates, Inc., the first non-profit public interest law firm 
in the west. He was Managing Attorney of Public Advocates when, in January 
1975, he was appointed Legal Affairs Secretary to Governor Edmund G. Brown, 

As Legal Affairs Secretary Justice Kline served on the Governor's cabinet 
for six years, until he was appointed to the San Francisco Superior Court in 
September of 1980. He was appointed a Presiding Justice of the Court of 
Appeal in December 1982. 

At the present time Justice Kline is Chairman of the Board of Directors of 
the San Francisco Conservation Corps, a member of the Board of Directors of 
Youth Service America, the American Jewish Congress (Northern California 
division), the San Francisco Private Industry Council, and President of the 
Youth Guidance Center Improvement Committee. He is also a member of the 
California Judges Association, the Institute of Judicial Administration and the 
World Affairs Council. 


Justice Kline has published the following articles: 

Kline, An Examination of the Competence of National Courts to 
Prescribe and Apply International Law: The Sabbatino~" 
Case Revisited, i Univ. of San Francisco Law Review 49 

Kline, Displacement of the Poor from Housing by the 

Federal-Aid Highway Program: Remedies Under the 
Highway Relocation Assistance Act of 1968, 4 
Clearinghouse Review 408 (1970) . 

Kline Sc LeGates, 

Citizen Participation in the Model Cities Program: 
Toward a Theory of Collective Bargaining for the T 
1 Black Law Journal 44 (Spring 19/1) . 

Kline Sc Sitkin, 

Financing the Private Practice of Public Interest Law, 
13 Arizona Law Review 823 (1972). 

Kline, Law Reform and the Courts: More Power to the People or 
to the Profession?, 53 California State Bar Journal 14 
(Jan. /Feb. 1978). 

Kline, Merit Selection: The Pursuit of an Illusion, 55 
California State Bar Journal 421 (1980) . 

Kline, Curbing California's Legal Appetite, Sunday Los Angeles 
Times, Opinion Section, page 1 (Feb. 12, 1978). 

Kline, The Media and the Courts, Los Angeles Daily Journal, 
90th Anniversary Issue (Sept. 11, 1978). 

Kline, Is Time Running Out on the Legal Profession? , ABA Bar 
Leader (Nov. /Dec. 1978). 

See also:, Hufstedler, Kline, Zolin et al., (symposium), 

Our Congested Courts, 1 Los Angeles Lawyer 14 (April 
1978) . 


[Session 1, October 29, 1990] 

[Begin Tape 1, Side A] 

LABERGE: Why don't you tell me a little bit about your childhood: where 
you were born, your schooling, your parents? 

KLINE: I was born in 1938 in New York City. My parents were 

themselves the children of European immigrants-Russian and 
Hungarian Jews. I grew up in a small town on the south shore 
of Long Island, Cedarhurst, went to Lawrence High School, 
graduated from high school in 1956. The town I grew up in was 
kind of a bucolic suburb of New York City, close by the beaches. 

LABERGE: You were talking about the bucolic suburb of New York City. 

KLINE: Yes, just a, you know, a suburb in the fifties after the war. It 

was a very pleasant childhood. I was kind of an obstreperous 
kid. I was bright, but I was a disciplinary problem in grammar 
school and in high school, had difficulty getting into college, 
spent a year at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. 
Then I transferred to Johns Hopkins University, and at 
Johns Hopkins I had a kind of an intellectual awakening. I then 
became something of an overachiever. I majored in philosophy at 
Johns Hopkins, graduated with honors, then went to Cornell 
University on an Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, got a master's degree 
in public administration in 1962 and decided at that point that I 
was better cut out for a career in the law. Then I went to Yale 

Law School, from which I graduated in 1965. 

LABERGE: Is that where you met [Governor Edmund G., Jr.] Jerry Brown, at 

KLINE: Yes. Jerry Brown was in the class of '64. I was in the class 

behind him. We lived in adjoining quarters at the law school and 
first became friendly there. Til get back to that later. 

When I graduated from Yale, I came to California to serve 
as a law clerk to a California supreme court justice, Raymond E. 
Peters. I served as his law clerk for that one year, 1965-66. In 
September of '66 I went to Los Angeles to head up Young 
Democrats for Brown. That was in the gubernatorial campaign of 
1966. [Governor Edmund G., Sr.] Pat Brown was running 
against [actor] Ronald Reagan. After that election I returned to 
New York City and worked in a large Wall Street law firm, Davis 
Polk & Wardwell. I stayed at Davis Polk for about four years, 
much longer, really, than I ever intended to stay. In 1970 I came 
back to Berkeley, and became a legal services lawyer. 

I was the chief of litigation of the National Housing and 
Economic Development Law Project, which was part of the Earl 
Warren Legal Center at Boalt Hall [School of Law]. This was a 
so-called "back-up center" that was taking on test cases on behalf 
of the clients of neighborhood legal services programs. My 
specialty was lawsuits challenging the destruction of low-income 
housing by urban renewal projects or federally-financed highway 

LABERGE: Did that include the Hayward freeway? 

KLINE: Yes, as a matter of fact. 

UBERGE: I read something about that, but I'm fuzzy on it. 

KLINE: There were federal statutes that protected low-income people 

from displacement as the result of a federally-financed 
construction project. Those statutes have been on the books for 
many, many years, but were ignored because the beneficiaries of 
the statutes were, by definition, poor people who didn't know 
they had legal rights, had no access to lawyers and were 
unaccustomed to asserting their rights. One of the things the 
Legal Services Program did was to suddenly provide lawyers who 
told the beneficiaries of these statutes, of what their rights were, 
and asserted them on their behalf. 

One of the reasons I was so successful in these lawsuits--in 
one period of about eighteen months I successfully enjoined well 
over a billion dollars' worth of freeways in six or seven states- 
was not because I was a brilliant lawyer but because state 
highway departments had grown so accustomed to ignoring the 
law that they were very easy to beat. In any event, our purpose 
in these lawsuits was not so much to stop the freeway or stop 
the urban renewal project as it was to vindicate the housing 
rights of people who'd been displaced. I guess the biggest single 
suit that I won at that time was a lawsuit enjoining the Yerba 
Buena Urban Renewal Project here in San Francisco; that's a 
lawsuit that went on for seven or eight years. 

In any case, partly because of my success in court, and 
maybe for some other reasons, in 1971 the Ford Foundation 
awarded me and two other legal services lawyers, [Robert] Bob 
Gnaizda and [Sidney] Sid Wolinsky, about a $3 million grant 

over a period of years to start the first public interest law firm in 
the West. Actually, it was only the second in the country. It was 
called Public Advocates, and Public Advocates is still around and 
still quite successful. 

From 1971 to 1975, I was the managing partner of Public 
Advocates, which had about eight lawyers. We were based in the 
Tenderloin section of San Francisco, and we represented most 
every minority organization or women's organization in California. 
The National Organization for Women, the NAACP [National 
Association for the Advancement of Colored People], the Mexican- 
American Political Association, the League of United Latin- 
American Citizens, the Native American Association, on and on 
and on. We were really, I think, an extraordinarily successful law 
firm, and it was a lot of fun. Keep in mind this was in the early 
seventies when the courts were still seen as an important place in 
which to obtain social change. Some people don't think they're 
nearly as effective a forum for that today as they were then. But 
we were young; we were having a lot of fun, and we were 
committed to change. Frankly, I can't imagine that lawyers with 
the interests we had could have found more rewarding and more 
enjoyable work. So that was a wonderful time. 

Because Public Advocates was a 501 (C) (3) nonprofit 
corporation, we were not allowed to get involved in conventional 
political activities or any political activities. Frankly, we were not 
very politically oriented in the conventional sense of party politics 
or election politics. So I was never involved during the whole 
entire time I was with Public Advocates, that five-year period, in 

any sort of politics, even though Jerry Brown at that time had 
been elected to the L.A. [Los Angeles] Community College Board 
and then had been elected secretary of state and thereafter ran 
for governor. I was never involved in any of his political 
campaigns, nor was I ever later. When I served in the governor's 
office, I was not active in his purely political efforts-campaigns 
for president or governor, things of that sort. I was never really 
involved in that. I didn't see myself, and I don't think anybody 
else saw me, as having any great skills on that front. 

L\BERGE: Or possibly interest? 

KLINE: Not really. Yes, that's right. I had no real interest in raising 

money, and I had no particular interest in developing a political 
campaign. My interests were much more issue-oriented and 
confined, if not to the executive branch, to the development of 

In any case, in 1974, Jerry Brown was elected. I believe I 
was the first person he appointed. I was appointments secretary 
during the transition; that is, the period after his election in 
November and before his inauguration in January. During that 
period the two chief people in the transition were myself and 
[Executive Assistant] Gray Davis. So that my first responsibility, 
really, was to learn what the appointment responsibilities of the 
California governor were, chiefly from the Reagan people who 
were still in office. We had a pretty smooth transition. Gray and 
I went to Sacramento on several occasions and interviewed 
[Executive Assistant Edwin] Ed Meese, who set up interviews 
with every member of the governor's cabinet. They gave us 

briefing books and quite a bit of helpful information. 

Although the governor didn't appoint anybody to a state 
position during his transition, it was during that time that we 
began to gather the information that resulted in his later 
appointments. At that time we were not interested in judicial 
appointments. We were talking only about appointments to the 
governor's cabinet and department heads. 

LABERGE: Before you go on, could you say something about your transition 
from working for a Wall Street firm to doing public interest law? 
How that came about, or what influenced you? 

KLINE: I guess the real question is not why I went into public interest 

law or legal services; the real question is why did I go to Wall 
Street? There's a picture [motioning] of the Wall Street law firm 
on the wall, on the top, and there's Public Advocates on the 
lower right. And there's Jerry Brown's office right in the middle. 

When I went to New York in 1966, the myth still prevailed 
that Wall Street was the big league for lawyers. I was a 
bachelor; I wanted to live in New York City with a little money 
in my pocket, and test myself in that world. I never had any 
long-term interest in staying on Wall Street. 

Keep in mind that I went to graduate school and law school 
in the sixties. The country was going through great social 
change. Many of us saw the law as a way to effectuate 
progressive social change as the federal courts had, for example, 
in Brown v. Board of Education. 1 We were inspired by the 

1. 347 U.S. 483 (1954). 



possibilities the legal process presented. We saw the law and 
change through the law as the great victory of our society, the 
victory of reason. The idea it was possible to achieve long 
overdue changes in society, to make rights more widely available, 
to eliminate invidious forms of discrimination, racial and 
economic, and so forth, was heady stuff. 

That was a long time ago, and the older one gets, the more 
one begins to wonder whether that idealism-whether that 
optimism about the use of the courts to effectuate social change- 
was as realistic or ever as wise as it then seemed. My present 
view, which I won't belabor, is that change that's achieved 
through the political system may be more enduring and more 
legitimate in the eyes of many people than change that is 
imposed by the courts. I see the courts much more as a last 
resort today than I did at that time. I think it's important to get 
people involved much more directly in vindicating their own 
interests and their own rights rather than have lawyers doing it 
for them in the abstract way that lawyers do. 

In any case, going to Berkeley and entering the Legal 
Services Program was much more consistent with my past than 
Wall Street. 

Was there someone who taught you, who influenced you in any 
way toward that bent? Or was it just the period of the sixties 
and how you grew up? 

I'm not sure I can answer that question. My parents were not 
very ideological or politically-oriented people. Harold Lasswell 




wrote a book called Psvchopathology and Politics 1 that suggests 
that the position an individual occupies in the political or 
ideological spectrum is more a function of Freudian sorts of 
considerations-such as toilet training-than most people realize. 
In any event, I don't know what the answer to your question is. 
I know that I always identified more with outsiders or with the 
underdog-this may have something to do with being Jewish-than 
I do with the established authorities. Though there were many 
professors at Yale who influenced me along these lines, as did 
Justice Peters, who was the most progressive supreme court judge 
of his era, there was no single person I would identify as a 

I think I also should mention that when I left Wall Street, I 
became a Reginald Heber Smith fellow. That was a fellowship 
that no longer exists that was designed to bring practicing 
lawyers into the Legal Services Program. It provided a stipend 
for me that supported me in the early months in the Legal 
Services Program. They sent me to school, to ... 
... to Boalt? [Hall, University of California at Berkeley, Law 

No, it wasn't to Boalt. This course was run at Haverford College 
in Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia. It was a course designed to 
introduce young lawyers to the sorts of legal issues that were of 
interest to poor people, and the different sorts of skills you 
needed in dealing with clients who were low income or members 

1. Harold D. Lasswell, Psvchopathologv and Politics, a new edition with 
afterthoughts by the author (New York: Viking Press, 1960). 

of racial minorities, which was a little bit different than the kind 
of skills you'd use if you're dealing with a business client. 

LABERGE: They're doing something like that at Boalt now. There's a group 
of students who go around in vans, and will stop at People's Park 
or wherever there are homeless, and they give legal advice, 
anyway. But they'd had some kind of training to help those 

KLINE: I'm not familiar with it. 

LABERGE: Let's see. Where have we gotten to? We had gotten to why you 
had come from Wall Street to Berkeley and Public Advocates. 

KLINE: One other thing I ought to mention here is that it was during my 

first year in California, when I was clerking on the supreme court, 
that Jerry Brown and I became close Mends. Although we were 
friends at Yale, we really built our friendship in Berkeley. We 
were living together while we were both clerking on the supreme 
court. He was clerking for [Associate] Justice [Mathew O.] 
Tobriner and I was clerking, as I said, for Justice Peters. But we 
lived together in Berkeley near the corner of Walnut and Cedar, 
on the ground floor of a beautiful old Victorian-that regrettably 
has since been demolished--for about ninety dollars a month. As 
you can imagine, Berkeley was a pretty exciting place to be in 
1965. That was a very, very interesting time. 

LABERGE: So you did that for just one year? 

KLINE: Yes. Those judicial clerkships ordinarily are for just one year. 

LABERGE: But that was right during the Free Speech Movement. 

KLINE: Just after, right. Jerry did his, I think, for about a year and a 

half. He started, as I said, earlier. He graduated from Yale a 


year before me, but he stayed over for about a half a year or 

more, and it was during that time that we roomed together. 
LABERGE: You had kept up contact some way so that you ended up being 


KLINE: Oh, yes, we'd kept up contact, that's right. 

LABERGE: So then from there, did you go back to Haverford and do the ... 
KLINE: No, no. When I left Berkeley the first time, I went to New York 

and practiced in Wall Street for about three years. It was then, 

after a brief stint at Haverford, that I returned to Berkeley. 

When I returned, it was 1970. By then I was married. 
LABERGE: How did you keep up your contact with Jerry Brown between 

then, for instance, and 74 when he was elected governor? 
KLINE: You mean during the early seventies? 


KLINE: Oh, if he was traveling, he'd stay with me in Berkeley and, on 

one occasion, in New York. If I was in Los Angeles, I'd stay with 
him. I talked to him on the phone. That was not a period in 
which I saw him very often, because he was then working at a 
law firm in Los Angeles, at Tuttle & Taylor. Although we 
maintained a friendship, it was not as close during that time as it 
had earlier been. 

LABERGE: But he obviously admired you very much. Most of the articles 
I've read have said that you were his most trusted advisor, and 
you were the first person he appointed. 

KLINE: Well, I think the reasons may have been because I had not been 

involved in any political campaigns, I didn't have a political 
agenda, and he knew who I was as well as anybody really could, 


at least in a sense that would matter to a governor. I think he 
felt comfortable with me. We shared a lot of experiences 
together. And I think it's very common for people in that kind of 
an executive position-governor, president, or mayor. You're 
comfortable in having people around you whose motives you 
don't question, whose aspirations are not in conflict with your 
own, who you can rely on to be honest with you. Examples of 
this abound, so I don't think there was anything unique to my 
relationship with Jerry Brown. I just happened to be somebody 
that had known him for more than a decade by the time he got 
to be elected governor. 

I'm not sure what more I can say about why Jerry Brown 
felt so comfortable with me. I guess it would be more 
appropriate for Jerry Brown to speak to that subject. I will just 
say this: I always felt comfortable with him, quite frankly, and 
again, this is something I'll doubtless say more about later. 

I think I had the best job in the Brown administration, 
largely because Jerry Brown gave me so much room, and also 
because the job that I had was essentially ill defined, which 
permitted me to define it. I was the legal affairs secretary, 
although I was the appointments secretary during the transition 
period. The day he was inaugurated I was sworn in as his legal 
affairs secretary. I am sure I played a very different role as Jerry 
Brown's legal affairs secretary than any previous legal affairs 
secretary or subsequent legal affairs secretary has played with 
respect to his or her governor. 




You indicated some curiosity as to what I was doing in Pat 
Brown's campaign in 1966. That's a good question. I'm not sure 
I remember, frankly, except that Fd gotten to know Pat Brown 
through Jerry. I guess Jerry was involved in that campaign. I 
knew some other people on the campaign: Fred Dutton, who was 
the fellow who ran the campaign at that time. The campaign 
needed somebody to head up the Young Democrats for Brown, 
and I was available in September, early September, until the 
election in November was over. I moved down to Los Angeles. I 
lived with Jerry during that period on Ocean Avenue in Santa 
Monica. That was really my first political experience, that 
gubernatorial campaign. But it was very brief; I only did it for 
two or three months. 

That may be the only political campaign I've ever worked 
on in my life. Well, I worked briefly on the campaign of 
Harrison Goldin for controller of the city of New York. "Jay" 
Goldin, as he was known, shared an office with me at Davis Polk, 
and so I got to know him, but that was also a very brief political 
venture. I really can't say that I have been a particularly 
politically involved person, at least in a sense of campaigns and 
election politics. 

What prompted you to take on the role as. ... For instance, to 
start with appointments secretary for Jerry Brown? 
Jerry Brown talked me into it. I didn't have any interest in it, 
frankly. I went down to Los Angeles the night of the election, 
the night he was elected, and stayed at his house in Laurel 
Canyon. I don't remember how the idea came up. I know that I 


didn't bring it up, but I can't recall exactly. He persuaded me 
that he wanted somebody who, as I said earlier, didn't have any 
agendas, didn't have any particular people that he wanted to pack 
his administration with, who had some organizational skills. 

What we were really doing during that period was 
processing information. He was not yet governor, so he couldn't 
appoint anybody. We were essentially receiving mail from people 
who were applying for jobs in the new administration, seeking 
out names of people who might be worth talking to, talking to 
labor leaders, for example, or business leaders, and other 
representatives of various sectors in the community that had been 
active in his election and who expected that their representatives 
would have a place in the Democratic administration. 

LABERGE: Even after, when you were legal affairs secretary, there was one 
little line in one of the Gal Journals [California Journal! about 
how you didn't plan to be there forever. 

KLINE: No, I didn't plan to be there nearly as long as I stayed, frankly. 

Td planned to be there very, very, briefly. I went there partly 
because Jerry wanted me to, partly because it started to get 
interesting. One of the things that happened during that 
transition period is that I was beginning to get an education in 
state government. Most of my work as a lawyer, both on Wall 
Street and as a public interest lawyer, did not relate to state 
government or the legislative process. I didn't know a lot and I 
was beginning to get educated during that transition period. 

The prospect of being right there in the governor's office in 
the biggest state in the United States, if you had any interest in 


public policy as I did, was an opportunity you couldn't refuse. So 
I don't want to give the impression Jerry Brown had to twist my 
arm. By this time I was starting to get interested. 

LABERGE: Prison reform would be a good thing for us to talk about, too, at 
a later date, possibly. 


LABERGE: Because I think you have views very similar to Jerry Brown's. 
That's probably another reason he picked you. 

KLINE: Well, no, I don't think that's true. 


KLINE: No. In many ways we do have similar values, but our views or 

our assessments of the best way to vindicate those values or 
whether government has the responsibility to do it were very 
often very different. I would wager that most of the time I spent 
dealing with Jerry Brown on government business was time spent 
arguing with him. There were areas in which our views were 
somewhat different. 

LABERGE: Maybe we can get into that, too, and you can give me examples 
of that. 

KLINE: I'll be happy to get into that in more detail, but in general, 

looking back on it now, I see that a lot of the areas in which we 
differed were areas in which he understood much, much better 
than I the limits of the power of an elected official with a broad 
constituency. I was much more oblivious than he was to the 
legitimate political demands of diverse constituencies that 
constrain the room a governor has within which to act. A 
governor or a president is not free to do everything he wants to 


do. I think many of the things that the governors, presidents, 
mayors, and even legislators do are dictated much more by their 
perception of the political parameters . . . 

[End Tape 1, Side A] 

[Begin Tape 1, Side B] 

KLINE: I don't say this in any pejorative sense. I think that that's just 

inherent in political office. You have to be attentive to the 
demands of your constituents, and often, there are going to be 
competing political considerations that are very hard to resolve. 
In any event, speaking at the most general level right now, Jerry 
Brown was naturally much more attentive to those sorts of 
constraints than I was. I think he was much more realistic. I 
think I became, by force of necessity, much more aware of those 
things the more time I spent in government. 

LABERGE: When you first started, how many appointments did you have to 

KLINE: Gosh, you know, I don't know exactly, except it was just a 

colossal number. It's amazing how big a state this is and the 
extraordinary power a governor has to appoint people to office. 
Just to give you some sense of it, with respect to judgeships, 
California has the biggest judiciary in the world. There is no 
country that has as many judges as the state of California. At the 
time Jerry Brown was governor, California had three times as 
many judges as there were federal judges in the entire United 
States. We had more judges in Los Angeles County than there 
were in England, if you exclude stipendiary magistrates. No chief 
executive in the world appoints as many judges as the California 




governor. And this is true in other areas in the executive branch 
as well. The number of boards, commissions, departments, and 
advisory groups the governor appoints to just boggle the mind. 

Now, as I say, I only was involved in that during the period 
of the transition. During the time that I was legal affairs 
secretary, the only appointments that I was involved with were 
judicial appointments. I think I'm probably the only legal affairs 
secretary in California history that was chiefly responsible for his 
governor's judicial appointments. Ordinarily it is the governor's 
appointments secretary, not his legal affairs secretary, who is 
responsible for recommending judges as well as all other 
appointments. When Jerry Brown was governor, at least during 
the time I was with him, his appointments secretary was Carlotta 
Mellon, and you might want to talk to her. I think Carlotta 
probably wasn't pleased at the interest I took in the governor's 
judicial appointments, but we worked it out in any event; that 
was the only area of gubernatorial appointments that she did not 
work in. 

So in that transition period you helped him with just the basic 
cabinet appointments and . . . 

Yes. During that transition period, the appointments that we 
were concerned about were primarily cabinet secretaries and 
department heads, and a few other positions such as the chairmen 
of certain boards and commissions-I think the Adult Authority, 
which at the time was the chief parole board. There may have 
been a few other commissions, like the State Water Resources 
Control Board that had a lot to do with water policy. But 


primarily it was cabinet secretaries and department heads. 

L\BERGE: Were there any people that you kept on from the previous 
administration, or is it customary to appoint all new people? 

KLINE: It's customary to appoint all new people, but there were some 

people that Jerry Brown did keep on, who in fact he elevated. As 
a matter of fact, one of the most remarkable appointments that 
Jerry Brown made was the appointment of Roy Bell as his 
director of Finance. Roy Bell was really the chief civil servant in 
the Department of Finance under the previous four or five 
governors. He was a career civil servant, and I think people in 
Sacramento, the cognoscenti in any case, were stunned that Jerry 
Brown would appoint a nonpolitical person out of the civil 
service, a person who was very, very highly regarded. There was 
almost no criticism of that appointment; in fact, I think he was 
universally lauded for appointing Roy Bell his director of Finance. 
There may have been a few others, but by and large the 
appointments that Jerry Brown made, like the appointments of 
any new governor, were new people. 

LABERGE: How did you go about choosing people? Did you have certain 

KLINE: Well, I didn't choose the people. In fact, people were not actually 

appointed until after he was elected. All I was doing during the 
transition was gathering information that would be refined and 
presented to the governor after his inauguration. 

I do remember interviewing some people who were seeking 
appointments then early on. [William] Bill Press, who originally 
was interested in becoming secretary of resources, was later 


appointed the head of the Office of Planning and Research, I 
believe. Louise Renne, who's now the city attorney of San 
Francisco, was at the time a deputy attorney general who was 
interested also, because of her work in the environmental area, in 
being secretary of resources, and there were a number of others, 
including the person who eventually got the job, Claire Dedrick. 

But what Jerry Brown was doing during that period was 
essentially defining the sorts of people he wanted to bring in. He 
made it very clear, for example, that he wanted minorities and 
women in visible, powerful positions in his administration, and he 
was the first governor of this state or any large state, I think, to 
do that on a massive scale. So we were seeking out people from 
minority communities as well as women. And a lot of my time 
was spent meeting with Hispanic groups or representatives of the 
black community or the Asian community, or with women's 
groups, and finding out from them who the people were that 
ought to be considered. 

By the way, I wasn't doing this by myself. There were 
people from various minority communities and women who were 
also involved at the time of the transition, on the governor's 
transition staff. Herman Sillas, who later became director of the 
Department of Motor Vehicles, is now a lawyer in Los Angeles, 
was one of the senior people on the staff at that time. Carlotta 
Mellon Tve already mentioned. Percy Pinkney, who later became 
[assistant to the governor for] community relations in the 
governor's office, who's very active in discussions with the black 
community. There were others. 


LABERGE: How about [Secretary of Agriculture and Services Agency] Rose 

KLINE: Rose Bird had been more active in Jerry Brown's campaign than I 

had. I didn't know Rose Bird prior to the election. I met her in 
Los Angeles when she also worked on the transition team. We 
divided the state government up into the various departments and 
commissions that were under the authority of the six or seven 
cabinet secretaries, and I think she was in that group that was 
working with the departments that were in the agricultural and 
services agencies, as it was then called, and I think that may be 
one of the reasons she ended up as secretary of agriculture and 

L\BERGE: Let's go on to legal affairs secretary. Can you kind of outline for 
me the scope of your duties? 

KLINE: Well, as I said earlier, it was pretty ill defined. . . . What legal 

affairs secretaries in California had done in the past, and what I 
think [Governor] George Deukmejian's legal affairs secretary does, 
is limited to dealing with extradition and clemency; serving as a 
liaison with the attorney general's office; being a liaison between 
the governor and certain criminal justice agencies, the 
Coordinating Council on Criminal Justice, for example. The 
.Office of Emergency Services was another example, and there 
may be some others. And also advising the governor on legal 
questions that would arise from time to time. If the governor 
was sued personally, or if the governor wanted the attorney 
general to take a particular position in a particular lawsuit, it was 
the legal affairs secretary that would communicate his wishes. 


I did all of those things. In other words, I did perform the 
conventional role of a legal affairs secretary, but my work went, I 
think, far beyond just that. In fact, I would say that the 
conventional work of a legal affairs secretary probably comprised 
no more than 10 or 15 percent of my time. I always had a 
deputy that was chiefly responsible for extradition and clemency. 
Incidentally, the state of California does more extraditing in and 
out than any nation in the world, by far, so it's a major job. 
There were lawyers in the Department of Justice that were 

assigned full time to work with us on this. The deputy in the 

governor's office who reported to me and was chiefly 

responsible-somebody you might want to talk to, actually--is 
Allen Sumner. Allen is now a special assistant to the attorney 
general in Sacramento. 

Fortunately, Jerry Brown never had to decide whether to 
give clemency to a person who had received the death penalty. 
Had that happened, that would have changed our job 
dramatically. But during the eight years he was governor that 
never became an issue. Occasionally there'd be an extradition or 
a clemency question that I'd have to get directly involved in. I 
guess one of the best known was the request to extradite Dennis 
Banks to South Dakota. Jerry Brown made the unusual decision 
to deny extradition, which outraged the then-attorney general of 
South Dakota, who later became governor. His name was 
Janklow, William Janklow, who built a whole political career 
around his desire to get Dennis Banks back into South Dakota. 

In any event, as I say, most of my work was in other areas. 


LABERGE: How involved in that were you, in the Dennis Banks case? 

KLINE: Oh, I was very involved in the Dennis Banks case. I spent a lot 

of time talking to people in South Dakota. I believe we held 
some hearings in the governor's office on that question. Received 
a lot of correspondence on it, spent a lot of rime talking to Jerry 
Brown about it. 

In the end, Jerry Brown believed Dennis Banks's life would 
be in danger if he sent him back to South Dakota. It was a 
tough call. Reasonable minds could differ about it. He offered to 
have Banks confined here in California, but South Dakota 
authorities rejected that. After Jerry Brown left office, Dennis 
Banks went to New York, and I think [Governor] Mario Cuomo 
essentially continued the policy of Jerry Brown. Eventually 
Dennis Banks returned voluntarily to South Dakota, and I don't 
know how that was resolved. 

A clemency case I recall quite well, involved a man named 
Luigi Aranda. Aranda had been convicted of murder in San 
Francisco, and newly discovered evidence was presented that 
persuaded the district attorney of San Francisco, who at the time 
was [Joseph, Jr.] Joe Freitas, and also the two homicide 
detectives who were involved in the case, that Aranda was 
innocent. There were some others, like the deputy district 
attorney who actually prosecuted Aranda, who disagreed, who 
thought Aranda was guilty. This is a complicated case; I won't 
bore you with the details. The point is that we conducted several 
hearings in the governor's office trying to figure out what the 
truth was. 


The governor decided to commute Aranda's sentence. He 
was persuaded, as I was, that although Aranda was not a very 
wholesome fellow--I think he was a Hell's Angel-it was 
impossible to believe he committed the murder because of the 
new evidence that pointed to somebody else. The governor didn't 
grant a pardon. What he did was to commute Aranda's sentence 
to the time he had served in prison. Clemency hearings of this 
sort, which are judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, are unusual. 

L\BERGE: Could you say something about the governor's views on prisoners 
and whether prison rehabilitates people, or how he felt about 
prison reform? 

KLINE: This was an area in which Jerry Brown and I didn't always see 

eye-to-eye. Jerry Brown did not want to spend his political 
capital on issues of this sort. I think in part, he took a rather 
moral position regarding an individual's responsibility for his acts. 
He granted much less in the way of clemency than Ronald 
Reagan and his father had. He was aware that a number of 
people that his father had pardoned subsequently committed the 
same crime, to his father's great embarrassment. Also, Jerry 
Brown did not place a lot of faith in the ability of prison to 
rehabilitate people. On the other hand, I think he did believe 
that whether it rehabilitated them or not, they were largely 
deserving of punishment. 

I suppose the first big piece of legislation that I worked on- 
maybe this is a subject that we should talk about; I haven't 
identified it earlier, it just occurred to me-was the [Uniform] 


Determinate Sentencing Act of 1976. 1 California in 1917 adopted 
the Indeterminate Sentence Act. 2 It was one of the first states to 
do that. In other words, when a person was convicted of most 
felonies, he would get a term of, say, five to life, or ten to life, or 
five to fifteen, and the actual sentence would be determined by 
the Adult Authority, on the basis of parole hearings conducted in 
one of the state prisons. 

There was a general feeling in the mid-seventies--and it was 
bipartisan, it was not just among Democrats-that the 
indeterminate sentence system had to go. I think that the main 
reason for that were the disparities in sentencing: two people 
convicted of the same crime on the same date could spend wildly 
disparate amounts of time in state prison and there had to be 
greater uniformity. In fact, the name of the statute was 
the Uniform Determinate Sentencing Act of 1976. It was 
designed to achieve greater uniformity in sentencing. 

The Republican candidate for governor, [Controller] 
Houston Fluornoy, was also in support of determinate sentencing, 
changing the system, as was Jerry Brown. But it was one thing 
to say you were in support of determinate sentencing, as most 
people of both parties were at that time, and quite another to 
come up with a bill satisfactory to everybody. I believe that the 
result of the Determinate Sentencing Act that Jerry Brown signed 
into law was to lengthen prison terms. I don't think there's any 

1. S.B.42, 1976 Reg. Sess., Cal. Stat., ch. 1139 (1976). 

2. S.B. 112, 42nd Leg. Sess., Cal. Stat., ch. 527 (1917). 


doubt that it has had that effect over time. 

In 1976 the goal was simply to take the median terms for 
most offenses and make it the midterm penalty. But once you 
took the power to set sentences away from the Adult Authority 
and placed it in the legislature, you were giving the legislature 
the ability to lengthen sentences. You also gave it the ability to 
shorten sentences, but it's politically unrealistic to think they 
would ever do that, and to my knowledge they have not. 

The real opposition to the Determinate Sentencing Act came 
from the far left and the far right. The far left did not want to 
put the sentence-setting power in the legislative branch, because 
then the sentence would just get longer. People on the right 
were opposed because they thought existing median terms were 
too short. 

In any event, people in the senate from both parties did 
support the bill. In fact, it had a Republican author, [Senator] 
John Nejedly, a former district attorney. But that was my 
baptism in the state legislature. It was in the lobbying of the 
Determinate Sentencing Act that I got my first experience of the 
legislative process. 

To return to your question, I had not spent a lot of time 
talking to Jerry Brown about criminal justice issues. I myself, by 
the way, did not have a great background in the criminal justice 
area. I have had considerable experience with the criminal law as 
a trial and appellate judge, but at the time I was in the 
governor's office, I had very, very little background. But the 
people who we were working with from law enforcement and 


elsewhere provided me an interesting introduction. 

The California District Attorneys' Association during the 
early years was led by Lowell Jensen, who was then the district 
attorney of Alameda County, John Van de Kamp, the district 
attorney of Los Angeles at the time, and [Edwin] Ed Miller, the 
district attorney of San Diego. They were a pretty responsible 
group of people. They weren't law and order maniacs, and I 
think Jerry Brown basically followed their advice most of the 

LABERGE: You were talking about the district attorneys' association, that 
they were a responsible group. 

KLINE: Yes. And the governor spent a fair amount of time with many of 

those people. In any event, I guess to sum it up, Jerry Brown 
was not a bleeding heart liberal. I know there were a lot of 
people who think that he must have been or were sure that he 
was, but let me assure you-and I was there--that when it came 
to sentencing issues, Jerry Brown was not a liberal. I don't want 
to say he was the opposite either; I think he was a pretty 
pragmatic centrist on these issues, and I would be very surprised 
if the district attorneys and others in law enforcement who 
worked with him at that time would give you a different view. 
You see, there were some inconsistencies in Jerry Brown, 
and I think that people found it difficult to believe that a 
Democratic governor as young as he was, who was as liberal as 
he was in certain other areas, wouldn't be liberal in this area. 
But he wasn't. I mean, he denied a lot of clemency requests that 




I would have granted; he took conservative positions on criminal 
justice bills, on amendments to the Determinate Sentencing Act in 
particular, which was a very important bill, and other criminal 
justice bills. He signed a lot of bills later on after the 
Determinate Sentencing Act was enacted, lengthening sentences 
against the advice of public defenders and others. 

So on the criminal justice side, Jerry Brown was a pretty 
tough-minded governor. [Perhaps the only important criminal 
justice issues on which Jerry Brown sided with the liberals were 
the death penalty and reform of the bail system. The death 
penalty was such a visible issue, however, that it obscured his 
moderate to conservative position on most other law enforcement 

You were talking about your baptism with the legislature; could 
you say more about that? How did you get involved in that bill? 
Did you help write it, or did . . . ? 

No, I was not involved in the writing of it. The two legislators 
who I think were the most involved in it were John Nejedly, who 
was the chief author, a Republican, former D.A., and Howard 
Way, who was at that time a Republican state senator from the 
Central Valley, from around Visalia. A rather conservative state 
senator on most issues, but in this area, actually, a real 
progressive. In the criminal justice area his views were to the 
left of Jerry Brown's, which is an anomaly, because Howard Way 
had a reputation as a conservative, and Jerry Brown had a 

* Judge Kline added the preceding bracketed material during his review of 
the draft transcript. 


reputation as a liberal. 

KLINE: Howard Way later became the head of the correctional 

agencies in the Brown administration. He was the first 
Republican. . . . Well, one of the few Republicans high up in the 
Brown administration. This came years later. There were a lot 
of conflicts between Howard Way and Jerry Brown. I was 
responsible for bringing Howard Way into the administration. I 
think Jerry Brown was stunned at my suggestion of him, but the 
more he thought about it, the more he met with Way, the more 
impressed he was with him. He was a very impressive man, 
Howard Way. Still alive, lives in Sacramento. I'd say he was one 
of the most impressive members of the legislature at that time. 
He had been a president of the senate when the Republicans 
controlled the senate for a brief time. He was a man of great 
stature. He was kind of a Hollywood version of what a state 
senator should look like. Very impressive; he had white hair and 
a great stentorian way of talking. But a wonderful human being, 

The person most involved in the actual drafting of the 
determinate sentencing bill, was Michael Salerno, who is now in 
the Legislative Counsers office in Sacramento. At the time, he 
was on Senator Nejedly's staff. But there was a lot of pulling 
and tugging on that bill, so my role really was to try and align 
the governor's views with those of the legislature or to find out 
where the governor was with respect to changes that various 
legislators wanted. You know, there's that old cliche about 
legislation and sausages, that if you saw how sausages were 


made, you wouldn't want to eat it. I'm not sure I share that 
negative sense of the legislative process, but there are moments 
on a bill like that, in which I did get a little disillusioned. 

It was a real eye-opener to see how power was exercised. I 
don't mean to suggest anything was improper. This was not a 
bill that involved money. There were no special interests tossing 
thousands of dollars around. And in any case, in the seventies 
even the special interests were a lot more restrained than I think 
they have since become. 

L\BERGE: Was that unusual for you to get so involved in a bill introduced 
by Republicans? 

KLINE: No, the fact that it was introduced by a Republican was really 

irrelevant. This was not a Republican bill. It was not a 
Republican issue. It was a bipartisan issue. I got involved in it 
because there was no other person within the administration that 
had jurisdiction in the criminal justice area, and the governor 
wanted somebody in his own office on top of it. 

LABERGE: Could you say more about how the power was exercised? Did 
you mean in the legislature? 

KLINE: Yes. I don't mean there's anything nefarious or even complicated 

about all this. I mean, what it basically boiled down to was that 
there were some legislators-George Deukmejian, who was then a 
state senator, he's a perfect example-who wanted longer prison 
terms. That's what the real debate was over. 

The position of a lot of liberal Democrats was look, what's 
important is that people go to prison, and they go to prison 
quickly; that the evidence is that the length of term doesn't really 


make much difference, it just provides a greater sense of 
hopelessness on their part and it's more expensive to the state 
and it takes up room that we don't have. On the other end, 
there were Republicans who took a very, very different view, as 
you can imagine, of the sentencing authority. It was essentially 
trying to resolve those two conflicts and to stick to our basic 

Our goal was to say, look, we don't want to change the 
length of sentences. All we want to do is take the existing 
medians and make them the norm. We didn't want to go to the 
left and we didn't want to go to the right; we just wanted to 
change the sentencing process but not necessarily change the 
average length of sentences. But in the debate it was hard to 
persuade people that that was what was happening. People who 
didn't like what our position was would characterize it very 
differently than we did. So there was a lot of talking to the 

That was another thing that I learned to do. In the past 
nobody had paid a great deal of attention to whatever I said. All 
of a sudden people were paying a great deal of attention to it, 
and so [I took a lot more care in instances of representing the 
governor's views or those of his administration.] 
[End Tape 1, Side B] 


[Session 2: November 26, 1990] 

[Begin Tape 2, Side A] 

LABERGE: Last time when we finished, one of your last statements was 

about the press and that you had to be careful. All of a sudden, 
people . . . 

KLINE: . . . were paying attention to what I said. 

LABERGE: . . . were paying attention to what you said, and that you were 
taking more care about what you said and giving the 
administration's views. Could you say more about the press-both 
your relationship with it, Jerry Brown's relationship with the 
press, and the power of the press? 

KLINE: I didn't have a lot of contact with the press. Certainly not nearly 

as much as the governor did. I think he was much, much more 
open with the press than most governors are. Certainly much 
more free and easy with them than his predecessor or his 
successor. I'm not sure he profited from that. I think one of the 
lessons of Ronald Reagan's presidency was that it's a lot easier to 
manipulate the press and keep them at bay. It's one of the great 
mysteries to me that Reagan received such light treatment by the 
press, considering how distant he kept them. 

Jerry Brown liked reporters; he knew a lot of reporters; he 
was confident in his relations with them. He didn't rely on 
counselors like Ed Meese and others nearly as much. So he gave 
them a lot more access, I believe, than governors of this state 



ordinarily do. I don't believe, however, that the press 
reciprocated that with particularly easy treatment. In fact, I think 
that because the press feels a need to engage a governor in 
somewhat of an adversary way, he probably fared much more 
poorly than he might have if he had been a little more distant. 

The press-and this isn't simply with respect to Jerry 
Brown-has an extraordinary ability to create the image of a 
political figure like a governor. This is particularly true in 
California, a state of nearly 30 million people that primarily relies 
on the media for its impressions of political figures. 

Jerry Brown probably did better with the broadcast media 
than the print media, because he had a superior ability to 
communicate with people directly. He did it in a different way 
than Ronald Reagan, who was a much more avuncular person. 
Without the interference of an intermediary, like a newspaper 
reporter, Jerry Brown was able to communicate quite effectively, 
and I think one reason for the political successes that he had was 
his ability to effectively use television. 

[Looking at list] You want me to move to some of the 
issues that youVe . . . 

Sure. If there's one in particular you'd like to ... 
Let me just go down them. You've provided a pretty good list of 
some of the issues that I dealt with. 

Let me take judicial appointments first of all. As we earlier 
discussed, I was not Jerry Brown's appointments secretary, 
although in the legal community people think I was because I 
was involved in judicial appointments. I was the person primarily 


involved in judicial appointments. Now, most governors don't 
give that responsibility to their legal affairs secretary. The 
appointments secretary is involved in all appointments, judicial 
and nonjudicial. That wasn't true under Brown. The 
appointments secretary for most of his tenure, a woman named 
Carlotta Mellon, advised the governor on all of his appointments 
except those to the bench. 

LABERGE: Even to boards? Commissions? 

KLINE: To everything. Boards, commissions, executive branch, the whole 

kit and caboodle, excluding only judges. 

Pat Brown used to have this saying that every time he 
appointed a judge, he produced one ingrate and made ten 
enemies. There's some truth to that. When I first went up to 
Sacramento, I thought that being involved in judicial 
appointments would be a very fulfilling thing. I was quickly 
disabused of that. California is so large a state and the governor 
appoints so many judges that it's impossible for him to know any 
significant number of those he puts on the bench. We're the 
most litigious society in the world here in California, and 
therefore we have required creation of the largest judicial system 
in the world, so the governor appoints a lot of judges. 

Jerry Brown's greatest achievement in this area, in my view 
and I think in the view of many people, is that he brought on to 
the bench men and women from areas of the community-the 
legal community and the greater community-that had in the past 
been excluded. He changed expectations about what governors 
would do when it came to judicial appointments. It was not 


KLINE: nearly as easy, in the early seventies or in the mid-seventies when 

he became governor, to appoint minorities and women as it now 
is, because there are so many more minorities and women in the 
legal profession who are constitutionally eligible. To be 
appointed to the municipal court, a lawyer must have been in 
practice for five years, and to all other courts a minimum of ten 
years. There weren't that many minorities and women that were 
eligible at the time he was governor, relative to the numbers that 
are presently eligible. 

In any event, Jerry Brown searched out minorities and 
women to appoint, and I don't believe that by and large he 
compromised the quality of the bench in doing so. While it's 
true, as I just said, that there were not as many minorities and 
women in the seventies as there are now in the nineties, still in 
many parts of the state-Alameda County, San Francisco, Los 
Angeles, San Diego--at least in the large metropolitan areas there 
were enough minorities and women so that it was not difficult to 
find well-qualified people. I don't believe that Jerry Brown 
compromised quality. 

What he accomplished by appointing significant numbers of 
minorities and women to the bench was to increase respect for 
judicial institutions amongst the large numbers of people of color 
in this state, and the majority of Californians who are women, 
who rarely, if ever, previously saw members of their own 
communities sitting in judgment over them. When a governor 
appoints a Chinese person to the bench, he immediately creates a 
visible community leader in the Chinese community, and that's 






true in every other minority community, and it's also true when 
you're appointing women. 

In any event, of all the things Jerry Brown did in the eight 
years that he was governor that I was involved in, the one that 
makes me proudest is my involvement in judicial appointments. I 
won't say that Jerry Brown did not appoint some people that he 
probably should not have. There's no governor of this state that 
can say that he didn't make some mistakes. You just appoint too 
many not to make mistakes. But by and large, I think Jerry 
Brown greatly strengthened the quality of the bench in this state. 

I think it's unfortunate that Jerry Brown's contribution in 
this area is going to be inordinately affected by a person's point 
of view about [Chief Justice] Rose Bird. Jerry Brown appointed 
close to a thousand people to the bench. I don't think he ought 
to be judged on those appointments simply on one or two or 
three appointments, as important as those appointments were. 
The day-to-day work of the courts is really performed at the trial 
level, and that's where his appointments really made an impact. 

I guess that this is an appropriate time to talk about court 

Before we go into that-maybe it's connected-how involved were 
you, for instance when you say Jerry Brown's accomplishments, 
weren't you a good part of that? 
Yes, but I didn't appoint anybody. I advised him. 
But you sort of came up with the pool? 

Yes, I was his eyes and ears. He did rely on me heavily. But it's 
not as though I invented the idea of appointing minorities and 


women. This was high on Jerry Brown's agenda, and he was the 
governor, and he made the appointment. 

LABERGE: For instance, how would you go about finding a group to present 
to him as possible judges? 

KLINE: The group is to some extent self-selecting. Ordinarily the 

universe from which appointments are selected are those who 
apply, and there was rarely a shortage of that. In the beginning 
it wasn't as clear that Jerry Brown was as keen on finding 
minorities and women as it later became. I remember one of the 
first vacancies we had to fill was on the superior court in 
Riverside County. Most of the information that you had to rely 
on came from others in the community where the vacancy 

I remember talking to a lawyer about a particular Hispanic 
candidate. He gave a glowing assessment of this individual, just 
glowing. The candidate had graduated high in his class in the 
University of California at Berkeley as well as its law school, I 
believe. He was bilingual, had done a lot of pro bono work, was 
highly respected by his peers and so on and so forth. And then 
at the end of his description he said, "It's too bad that he can't be 

I asked, "Why can't he be appointed?" He said, "Because he 
doesn't have the support of the local bar association. He hasn't 
been active in bar activities, so he can't be made a judge." I said, 
"Wait a minute. I'm calling from the governor's office. It's the 
governor who appoints, not the bar association." This person 
said, 'Yes, but, you know, when the bar association doesn't 


support somebody, it just doesn't happen." 

Nobody in California would have said that to me six months 
later. That view of how an individual got appointed to the 
bench-which was a view that was the product of eight years of 
Ronald Reagan and perhaps eight years of Pat Brown before 
that-was not a view that existed after Jerry Brown. Expectations 
about what George Deukmejian and now [Governor] Pete Wilson 
would or should do in this regard are to a considerable extent the 
result of what Jerry Brown did. I don't think any future governor 
of California will be able to ignore the need to reflect on the 
bench the cultural, ethnic, racial diversity of this state and the 
need to also appoint women. 

L\BERGE: I read just a little story about how when Jerry Brown first 

became governor, there were maybe fifty-three vacancies, and you 
were trying to get him to appoint people but it took some time 
because he had to study the issue. 

KLINE: Jerry Brown once told me that when you seize the flag, the game 

is over. He did not like to make appointments. Because once 
you made the appointment, you lost the opportunity to consider 
the alternatives. Although he had a goal, in connection with 
judicial appointments-the one I described earlier-he was not a 
person whose chief occupation as governor was filling the vacant 
positions in the executive branch or on the bench. It was 
difficult, frankly, particularly in the beginning, to get him to see 
the need out there in the state to have these vacancies filled. 

There was the problem of court congestion. I was certainly 
hearing a lot about it from judges and lawyers and others. I 


certainly agreed that this was a responsibility the governor had to 
discharge. It was a little difficult to get Jerry Brown to focus on 
this. I have a feeling, incidentally, that this is true of a lot of 
governors. I don't think he's the only one. George Deukmejian 
has not proceeded with alacrity in filling vacancies either. 

LABERGE: Now do you want to go into court reform before I interrupt you 

KLINE: Well, let me just say this. That I don't think any modern 

governor has been as committed to court reform as Jerry Brown. 
This was also an area in which I was his chief advisor, in which I 
had a greater responsibility than perhaps anybody short of the 

One of the reasons he was concerned about court reform 
was his feeling that we couldn't continue to solve the problems of 
court congestion simply by creating more judgeships, which was 
the conventional approach, as it still is today. It now takes five 
years to get a case to trial in Los Angeles, or close to five years. 
The conventional answer to this problem that's being 
communicated to Governor Deukmejian and will be communicated 
to Governor Wilson is just create more judgeships. 

There are I believe considerably more than three hundred 
superior court judges in Los Angeles County today. There are a 
lot of states that don't have anywhere near three hundred judges. 
Jerry Brown's feeling was that there was an analogy between 
judges and freeways. If you build more freeways, people are 
going to use them and create more congestion and foul the air 
more, and that if you really want to solve the problems of 


transportation, it isn't going to be done with freeways. It's going 
to be done with public transportation or changing people's 
lifestyles in various ways. 

Similarly, he felt that the problem of court congestion was 
to a considerable extent the result of the difficulties and expense 
in using the judicial system. There were many sorts of disputes 
that could be better resolved outside the courts. By "better 
resolved" I mean more expeditiously resolved, and resolved less 
expensively. There were a whole variety of ideas that he had. I 
don't think it was his feeling that there was any one reform that 
would make a significant dent in court backlogs. He felt--and I 
think most people who paid attention to this problem agree-that 
there has to be a whole array of reforms. 

But one of the things that we discovered in this area is that 
while a lot of people give lip service to the need to reform the 
courts, enacting the actual reforms can be extraordinarily difficult. 
Nobody objects to seeing somebody else's ox gored, but when 
their own is threatened or perceived to be threatened, they get 
very upset. Let me give you some examples. 

The United States is one of the few places in the world 
where a robed magistrate has to decide whether someone made 
an illegal left turn. Most traffic violations in other countries are 
resolved before an administrative hearing officer, not a judge. 
Here in California, in many municipal courts, 20, 30 percent of 
the work of a judge are petty traffic violations. 

Well, Brown proposed that the traffic be taken out of the 
municipal courts and heard by independent hearing examiners. 


There were a few states that had experimented with this: I 
believe Rhode Island, New York, Virginia. I think others. 
Perhaps Oregon. Well, the California Trial Lawyers Association 
opposed this very vigorously, not because the California Trial 
Lawyers Association or its members represent people in traffic 
cases; they don't. But they were afraid that if you could take 
traffic out of the court and it worked, that you might take some 
other things out of the court in which they do have an economic 

One of the problems in enacting court reform was the 
extraordinary number of lawyers in California, many of whom are 
underemployed, if not unemployed. So that certain associations 
of lawyers. . . . I'm not referring to the [California] State Bar 
[Association], incidentally, but there were other groups of lawyers 
that represented special interests: the California Trial Lawyers 
Association that represents plaintiffs lawyers and personal injury 
cases, the California Applicants Attorneys Association that 
represents lawyers that do workers' compensation work and so 
forth-there are other examples. They opposed reforms they 
perceived might diminish the need for their services. I've given 
you the example of traffic. 

Another example was mandatory pre-trial arbitration. This 
is an idea that had been advanced for years. The idea is that in 
certain cases, where the damages sought were under $15,000 or 
$25,000-in other words, relatively small civil cases-the litigants 
should be required to submit to pre-trial arbitration. You needn't 
accept the arbitrator's award, but if you reject it and go to trial 






and don't get more than you were offered by the arbitrator, you 
have to pay your adversary's attorney's fees. This is a modest 
proposal. But it was strongly opposed by the Trial Lawyers 
Association, whose fear was that if it would work for cases under 
$15,000, then they might make it work for cases under $50,000. 
If a significant number of cases settled at this early stage, less 
business for lawyers might result. 

Well, mandatory pre-trial arbitration was a bill 1 that the 
governor did successfully get enacted; it's been an enormous 
success in California. Although the threshold level when Jerry 
Brown signed the bill was $15,000, that system has worked so 
well that it's now been raised to $25,000. This is an area in 
which California is in the forefront. 
Do you know what year that was, by any chance? 
Gee, I don't. I would guess it was around 1978. Seventy-seven 
or 78 is what . . . 
I can check it. 

What about the independent hearing examiners? Did that 
ever . . . 

We got that adopted as an experimental pilot program, I think in 
certain counties. Sacramento County was one of them. The 
hearings were held in the Department of Motor Vehicles. But the 
opposition there came not only from trial lawyers, but it came 
from the California Highway Patrol. They didn't think that the 
tickets they wrote would be given the respect they were due 

1. S.B. 275, 1979-80 Reg. Sess., Cal. Stat., Ch. 46 (1979). 


unless a judge presided over the proceeding rather than a hearing 
officer. We thought that was kind of silly, but the highway 
patrol is not an insignificant lobbying group. 

I guess that one of the big points that came out of this is 
that there were a number of, I think, useful reforms that were 
enacted while Brown was governor. I don't think that his 
successes in this area were nearly as many as he proposed or 
would have liked. But this is an area in which the economic--or 
the perceived economic-interest of lawyers often transcended 
perceptions about the need for reform on other grounds. And if 
you didn't have support within the legal community, it's very hard 
to find it elsewhere. So there is a limit to what a governor can 

The next issue here, [looking at list] moving kind of 
quickly, is bail reform. This was Assembly Bill 2 in 1979. 1 This 
was one of the few bills that were co-authored by the speaker, 
who was then [Assemblyman] Leo McCarthy, and the majority 
leader in the assembly, who was then [Assemblyman] Howard 
Berman. This was a reform that the governor addressed in his 
State of the State message, I believe in 1978. What we were 
trying to do in this area was for California to adopt the Federal 
Bail Reform Act. 2 

Now, the way bail works in California and in most other 
states-one of the few exceptions is Kentucky-but in most states, 

1. A.B. 2, 1979-80 Reg. Sess., Cal. Stat., Ch. 873. 

2. Bail Reform Act of 1966, 80 Stat. 216 et seq. 


if you're arrested and bail is set at, say, $1,000, if you have the 
$1,000 then you put up $1,000 and you're released. If you don't 
have $1,000, you have to go to a bail bondsman. The bail 
bondsman puts up $1,000, and his fee is 10 percent, or in this 
case, $100. If your bail is later exonerated, if the complaint is 
dismissed or you're found guilty or you're acquitted or whatever 
happens, bail is terminated, you never get back that $100. In 
other words, bail essentially constitutes a tax on being arrested. 

There are many, many people in jail, pre-trial, only because 
they lack the funds to pay the bail bondsman his 10 percent. In 
other words, two people arrested on the same day for the same 
crime-one is rich and the other is poor-the person who either 
has the $1,000 or who can pay the bail bondsman his 10 percent 
doesn't spend a day in jail prior to trial. But the poor 
person~and most people who are arrested for crime are 
poor-doesn't have that luxury. So there's clearly, it seemed to 
us, unequal treatment. An awful lot has been written in this 
area, incidentally. 

The federal bail reform system, the system we were trying 
to adopt, was simply one in which the defendant had the option 
of depositing his 10 percent directly with the court rather than 
with the bail bondsman. And if he appearedin other words, if 
he showed up in court on the appointed day-the money was 
returned to him. Now, this was only for certain nonviolent 
crimes, and there were some exceptions to this. 

The opposition to this reform came almost entirely from bail 
bondsmen. The bail bondsmen fought this bill harder than I 


think Fve ever seen any group resist proposed legislation in the 
six years I was up there. Between 1959 and 1979, during that 
twenty-year period, some of the most powerful members of the 
legislature introduced bail reform legislation along the lines Fve 
just described. They were Democrats and Republicans. 
[Assemblyman William] Bill Bagley was one of the Republicans 
that was prominent in this area. [Senator] George Moscone was 
another example. There were many. These bills never got out of 
their first committee. The people who killed these bills were not, 
as you might expect, conservative Republicans. Instead, it was 
liberal Democrats. More particularly, assemblymen or senators 
from heavy minority districts. Bail bondsmen are an extremely 
astute group of people. Their lobbyists are usually very effective, 
and they are only concerned with one issue: killing bail reform. 

And the way they do it is this. In certain assembly districts, 
where the assemblymen or candidates for office don't have access 
to wealthy constituents, they rely on bail bondsmen. Bail 
bondsmen were notoriously generous political contributors. The 
public officials with whom they are most generous are the ones 
who win in these areas, who tend to be Democrats. There are 
many black and Hispanic legislators, for example, who rely very, 
very heavily on bail bondsmen. Some of the biggest bail 
bondsmen in California are themselves black and Hispanic. 
They're entrepreneurs. In fact, I think at the time, that the most 
prominent bail bondsman in the state was a black Republican in 
Los Angeles named Celes King. He'd once run against [Lieutenant 
Governor Mervyn] Merv Dymally for office. Very savvy guy. A 


nice guy, actually. 

In any event, it was very, very difficult for us to get this 
bill because of the strong opposition of precisely those legislators 
you would expect to support this bill, because the people who 
were languishing in jail simply because of their inability to come 
up with bail were themselves primarily black and Hispanic. We 
finally did get a bill; however, it took two years. It got a lot of 
Republican support, actually. Some of the key people on this bill 
were [Senator James] Jim Nielsen, who's now the Republican 
minority leader in the senate, and [Assemblyman Eugene] Gene 
Chappie, a very conservative Republican who served in Congress 
later on. 

The condition for enactment of the bill-the bail bondsmen 
were pretty effective on this, I have to concede-was that the bill 
would self-destruct in five years unless it were extended. Well, 
after five years-that was Jerry Brown's last year in office--they 
were counting on the fact that the next governor would not be as 
interested in bail reform as Jerry Brown, and they were right. 

[End Tape 2, Side A] 

[Tape 2, Side B not recorded] 1 

[Begin Tape 3, Side A] 

KLINE: Jerry Brown's relationships with the legislature were not as good 

as they might have been. I think he has to take some 
responsibility for that. 

In some ways this was just the result of his personality. He 

1. Due to technical problems this section of the tape did not record. The 
material contained in Tape 2, Side B was re-recorded on April 16, 1991. 


was much more spontaneous than most in high office. He was 
willing to take chances. He was willing to float ideas. He was 
willing to consider possibilities that a committee might have 
found a lot of reasons to quickly reject. I think Jerry Brown was 
much more tuned in to changes happening in the world-his idea 
of limits, for example-than most other people. And I think he 
had a great ability to articulate some of his thoughts in a way 
that people could understand. But one of the risks that he ran, 
and one of the prices that he paid, was that he would be seen as 

It was interesting; the person who first coined the word 
"Governor Moonbeam" was a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. 
[Michael] Mike Royko. About a year or two after Royko coined 
this phrase, which others picked up, he wrote a column in which 
he apologized for giving Brown this unfortunate moniker. 
Because the more he learned about Brown, the more refreshing 
he found him. 

Jerry Brown was unconventional, and his unconventionality 
did him in to some extent. But there was virtue in this 
unconventionality. Jerry Brown was a member of the elite who 
had a strong anti-elitist strain. Thus he thought it was useful to 
appoint people to consumer boards who did not come from the 
regulated industry. 

Perhaps I should explain. California has scores and scores 
of boards and commissions that regulate various professions, 
ranging from the board of governors of the state bar that 
regulates the legal profession, to the Board of Medical Quality 




Assurance that imposes discipline on doctors, to the Board of 
Behavioral Sciences that licenses psychologists and marriage and 
family counselors, to the Cosmetology Board that licenses 
beauticians and so forth. Brown supported legislation to put 
"public" members on these boards. He thought it was a mistake 
for members of the regulated profession to control the regulatory 
function. He was a real consumer activist in that regard. 

But then when he appointed nurses to the Board of Medical 
Quality Assurance which regulated doctors--who had a very 
different idea of the role of nurses in society and in the medical 
hierarchy-well, doctors took enormous offense. Similarly, when 
he appointed public members to the Board of Governors of the 
state bar, a lot of lawyers saw this as anti-lawyer, despite the fact 
in that case that the author of the legislation, a lawyer member 
of the assembly, didn't consult the governor when he introduced 
the bill. 1 
Who was that? 

That was [Assemblyman] Howard Berman. Jerry Brown signed 
the bill, but Jerry Brown didn't come up with the idea. But in 
any event, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the view that the 
public and nonprofessionals could usefully be involved in the 
work of regulating trades and businesses and professions in 

As I have said, that annoyed a lot of people who belonged 
to those businesses and trades and professions who didn't want 

1. A.B. 590, 1974-75 Reg. Sess., Cal. Stat., ch. 874 (1975). 




outsiders involved. So they developed strong antipathy, some of 
them, to Jerry Brown, because they thought he opposed their 
interests. He was really advancing his conception of the public 
interest. Jerry Brown took, I think, a much more transcendent 
view of the role of an elected official than most people were 
accustomed to. 

He was for supporting scientific efforts like NASA [National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration], the space exploration, 
even though he understood that that would reduce the amount of 
funds available for domestic spending. Because he had a concept 
of what man's nature required, that the quest for new frontiers 
was imperative, that man could not rest on the limits of his 
present knowledge, he supported space exploration and new 
technologies. Some people saw that as "flakiness." But I think 
he was a very serious person, and I think he had a large vision, 
and I think he did have a much more salutary impact on this 
state than many people yet realize. People are now coming 
around to some of his views. 

Another example of this is that Jerry Brown took a lot of 
heat for his reluctance to approve the use of malathion to kill the 
Mediterranean fruit fly. I don't know if you recall, but one of the 
things that was used against Jerry Brown in his run for the 
senate was this medfly problem. 
I forgot until you mentioned that. 

This was a big thing. Basically, what Jerry Brown was saying 
was, "Look, the consequences of malathion on the thousands upon 
thousands of people that would be affected in densely-populated 


urban areas, ought to be a graver concern of government than 
the alternatives that would flow from not spraying, but using 
other types of efforts to contain this fruit fly." Well, we now 
know that the use of malathion, which was used earlier this year 
in Southern California-Pasadena and lots of other parts of Los 
Angeles-was finally stopped because of the growing concern of 
the dangers that Jerry Brown appreciated. Jerry Brown 
understood the dangers in the quick fix. 

Maybe the best example I can give you of that is to tell you 
a story that exemplifies his inquiring mind and the way it 
sometimes got him into trouble. While Reagan was governor, 
many believed California ought to authorize or subsidize the use 
of fluoride in local water supplies. As you may know, there were 
people, certain conservative groups, who saw this as part of some 
conspiracy to advance a Communist agenda. I never quite 
understood what it was all about, but I do know that this anti- 
fluoridation effort was motivated by people with very conservative 
political views. For that reason, I think, during the eight years 
that Reagan was governor, he took no interest in efforts to 
expand the use of fluoride. 

When Jerry Brown got elected, there was joy among those 
pro-fluoridation people. I remember walking into the governor's 
office one day when he was meeting with a large group of people 
who were there to persuade him to support the use of 
fluoridation. He listened to them for a while, and then he said 
something like this. He said, "Wait a minute. The problem you 
want to address is that our kids have rotten teeth. The reason 




that they have rotten teeth is they eat Hostess Twinkles and drink 
Coca-Cola. But instead of changing the eating habits of our 
children, you want to put a chemical in the water." 

The people in the room suddenly began to think either that 
they were being mocked or that the governor was challenging 
their most fundamental assumption. What Jerry Brown was 
saying was, "Look, maybe the best way to solve this human 
problem is with a human solution. You shouldn't look to science 
and technology to solve problems that can be solved in much less 
expensive and much less potentially dangerous ways without the 
use of chemicals, without a quick fix. Kids shouldn't be eating 
Twinkies and they shouldn't be drinking Coca-Cola, and we 
shouldn't be avoiding that source, which is the source of the 

Now, in a way, he was having fun. I don't think he was 
opposed to fluoridation, but the shock in the eyes of those true 
believers for fluoridation was so palpable that it was easy for me 
to see, how this sort of badinage was going to get him into real 
trouble. And indeed it did in years to come. His willingness to 
consider new or different ideas upset a lot of people who had a 
lot invested in their particular solution to what they regarded as 
their problem. 

It's 5:20 now. Shall we consider something else, or . . .? 
I'm not sure there's much more I can tell you. Is there anything 
else you think I should address? 
Can you say a few words about the cabinet meetings? 
The cabinet meetings occurred with some frequency in the 


beginning. Towards the end of the Brown administration there 
rarely were cabinet meetings. When Jerry Brown got elected 
governor in November, Gray Davis and I went up to Sacramento 
to visit with Ed Meese as part of a transition scheme. Meese 
showed Gray and I how the Reagan administration was 
organized. The cabinet meetings occurred regularly; then there 
were sub-cabinet meetings and so on and so forth. He [Meese] 
had a lot of boxes and a lot of lines of authority. It was 
extremely rigorous. I mean, the meeting would start at eight 
o'clock and it would end at eight-thirty and if it was in the 
middle of a sentence, that was too bad. 

Well, nothing could have been further from that than the 
Brown administration. Jerry Brown, as I said earlier, was not a 
great lover of meetings. Secondly, he was not a person who 
would follow somebody else's agenda very easily. These cabinet 
meetings usually ended up focusing more on what was on Jerry 
Brown's mind than what was on the mind of the cabinet 
secretaries. This is not necessarily to Jerry Brown's credit, 
certainly. I think a lot of cabinet secretaries realized that if they 
were going to have useful communications with the governor, it 
was going to have to be one on one. I think most of the 
governor's important communications with his cabinet secretaries 
and his department heads was face to face or conversations one 
on one or telephone conversations. The cabinet meetings were 
not, in the Brown administration, a forum for cabinet secretaries 
to bring to the governor their policy problems. 

You see, the organization of a governor's office necessarily 


reflects the personality of the governor. Jerry Brown was not as 
strictly disciplined an administrator as most other governors 
certainly are. He was also very, very difficult to control for his 
executive secretary, Gray Davis, who was trying to put order on a 
very ebullient, imaginative, creative person who liked to spend 
time thinking and talking about what interested him rather than 
what interested other people. 

Brown was also aware of the way governors, including his 
father, were controlled by their advisors. I recall him pointing 
out to me once how much Reagan's system insured the ability of 
those around him to control him. Reagan was presented, when 
he was governor, with decision memos. A decision memo 
outlined the facts, described the options, and then asked the 
governor for a choice. Well, if you control the facts and you 
define the options, then you basically control the decision. I 
don't think Jerry Brown was about to permit that to happen to 
him. He was not going to permit an Ed Meese or a [Assistant to 
the Governor and Director of Administration Michael] Mike 
Deaver to define the possibilities. 

[End Tape 3, Side A] 

[Tape 3, Side B not recorded] 


[Session 3, April 16, 1991] 

[Begin Tape 4, Side A] 

KLINE: I think we were talking about the Bail Reform Bill, which was 

A.B. 2. 1 I believe the year was 1979; I'm not sure. You wanted 
to know how the governor was able to get this reform enacted 
because the opposition, which I think we've already discussed, 
was so effective. The bail bondsmen were a powerful lobby. For 
each of the twenty years between 1959 and 1979 they had 
succeeded in killing that bill, usually in committee before it ever 
reached the floor. It was usually liberal Democratic assemblymen 
and senators from low-income districts (who relied heavily on bail 
bondsmen contributions) who defeated the bill, even though 
ironically, it was their constituents who would have benefited the 
most from the reform that was being killed. 

But the answer to the question of how we got this through 
is in many ways a measure of the strength of the opposition. It 
was actively supported by the governor, who raised the issue in 
his State of the State message that year, and was co-authored by 
the speaker of the assembly, then [Speaker] Leo McCarthy, and 
the majority leader of the assembly, [Assemblyman] Howard 
Berman, who clearly were the two most powerful and most 
effective assemblymen in California at that time. I don't even 

1. A.B. 2, 1979-80 Reg. Sess., Cal. Stat., ch. 873 (1979). 


think they would have been able to enact this measure had it not 
been for some of the excesses of the bail bondsmen. 

Ironically, the key legislators who put the bill out in the 
assembly and later in the senate were rather conservative 
Republicans. In the assembly, the key people were [Assemblyman 
Eugene] Gene Chappie, who later went on to Congress, who was 
from Placer County; and [Assemblyman] Jim Ellis, who later went 
on to the state senate and who was from San Diego. 

In the senate, the key person who at the eleventh hour-it 
was close to midnight on the last day of the session, I remember 
it well-who changed his vote in favor of this bill was [Senator 
James] Jim Nielsen, a Republican from Napa County, from an 
agricultural area. I think that certainly in the case of Nielsen, 
and perhaps in the case of Chappie and Ellis, they were offended 
at the enormous amount of money and pressure that the bail 
bondsmen were exerting. For example, bail bondsmen "loaned"--! 
put the word "loaned" in quotes here-about a quarter of a million 
dollars to [Senator] John Briggs, a senator from Orange County. 
I'm sure that it was probably conditioned on his strong opposition 
to this particular bill. I think the overtness of that financial 
inducement offended not just Nielsen but many others, and I 
think that was a key element. 

But I don't want to underestimate the influence of Howard 
Berman and Leo McCarthy, particularly Berman, who really was 
an enormously skillful legislator. He's now a member of Congress 
from Los Angeles and is an influential member of that body as 
well. His ability to steer this measure through was critical, and 


he did it through a bipartisan vote of people who were persuaded 
that it would save the counties money, that it was consistent with 
the presumption of innocence, and that it only related to 
nonviolent offenders. 

LABERGE: Do you want to go on to workers' compensation? 

KLINE: Yes. The California workers' compensation system, though it's a 

little-known fact, is the largest workers' compensation system in 
the world. It's much bigger than the federal system. When Jerry 
Brown was governor, there were then, I believe $17 billion 
passing-maybe it was $7 billion, but I believe it was $17 billion- 
passing through that system, because there were so many workers 
covered. But despite the size of the program, both in terms of 
the amount of money involved and the size of the bureaucracy, 
the sad fact was that California workers were compensated less 
than workers in thirty-two other states. The reason for this was 
that doctors and lawyers were taking out of this system what 
many believed to be an unconscionable amount. 

Now, the doctors and the lawyers have very, very effective 
lobbies, and although they ordinarily are at cross-purposes in the 
legislature, their interests are not conflicting when it comes to 
any reform of the workers' compensation system that would 
diminish the economic advantage to those two professions. 

In any case, there is no meaningful reform of workers' 
compensation, in my view, or of which fm aware, that does not 
to some extent limit the amount spent on medical reports and 
lawyers' fees. The reform that Brown supported in 1980--it was 


Senate Bill 3 75 l --was supported by a coalition of labor unions, 
insurance companies, large employers-the California 
Manufacturers Association, for example. Now, that's an unusual 
coalition. Ordinarily you don't find organized labor on the same 
side as insurance companies and large corporations, but you did 
on this bill. And yet that coalition, which has some powerful 
forces within it, was unable to overcome the enormous resistance 
of lawyers and doctors, particularly lawyers. 

The lawyers' group that lobbies on the issue of workers' 
compensation is known as the California Applicants Attorneys 
Association. Most people in California have no idea what an 
applicant's attorney is, but there's nobody in the state legislature 
who has any doubt. They are very well known and they are very 
well financed and they are very professionally represented by 
lobbyists in the assembly and in the senate. What they succeeded 
in doing was bottling that bill up in a committee to whose 
members they make sizable political contributions. 

But our real goal was not to hurt doctors and lawyers. 
That was not our purpose at all. Our purpose was simply to 
benefit injured workers without increasing still further the large 
premiums that California employers have to pay. The manner in 
which workers' compensation premiums-costs of supporting the 
system-diminished California's competitive effectiveness in terms 
of our national economy, is not as widely known as it should be. 
The problem in workers' compensation is not only that injured 

1. S.B. 375, 1979-80 Reg. Sess. (1980). 


workers are inadequately compensated, but that corporations are 
so heavily burdened by insurance premiums. So there is both a 
traditional Democratic and traditional Republican community of 
interests here, working people and large businesses, and yet those 
two unusual partners were unable to overcome the resistance of 
lawyers and doctors. 

LABERGE: How were you even able to get that coalition together to begin 
with-the labor unions and the corporations? 

KLINE: I don't think I can give Jerry Brown or his administration all the 

credit for that. They perceived their own self-interest correctly. 
It's no secret, really, that the costs of this system are inordinately 
the result of medical and legal costs that can be reduced without 
prejudicing the rights of workers and without relieving the 
corporations of burdens that they should bear. So it didn't 
require that much of the governor, but the governor did support 
it. I think that to his credit, he was willing to take on doctors 
and lawyers. I think this is another bill that helped to create the 
idea-the false idea, in my view-that Jerry Brown was anti-lawyer 
or anti-doctor or anti-professional, or maybe anti-elitist. But he 
was not unwilling to challenge vested interests, in this case 
doctors and lawyers, if he felt that it made sense, that it was a 
useful social policy, and that it was feasible. 

LABERGE: Could you say more about lobbyists in general and the power of 
lobbyists in our government? 

KLINE: Sure. I don't know that I have any special wisdom on this. I 

think that the power that lobbyists have today. ... I haven't 
been in Sacramento since 1980, more than a decade. My sense is 


that lobbyists have more power today than they did when I was 
there, but I was impressed when I arrived in Sacramento in 1975, 
with their extraordinary clout. 

Lobbyists have the power they do usually because of the 
money that their clients spend. The costs of running for office 
have become so great in this state because candidates must rely 
on the broadcast media to get their message across and this costs 
a lot of money. Many elected officials are not fond of the well- 
heeled special interests, but nonetheless realize they are their 
principal source of large contributions. My own sense is that 
some form of campaign reform is essential to reduce the 
inordinate power of these groups. 

Now, I don't want to paint with too broad a brush here, 
and I don't want to suggest that lobbyists don't contribute 
anything positive, because many of them do. And indeed, there 
are many areas in which lobbyists are influential for reasons 
other than money. I mean, for example, in the criminal justice 
area, certain lobbyists are influential in that area because of their 
political power. For example, the California District Attorneys 
Association exerts, I think, considerable influence for that reason. 
But there are other lobbyists who exert influence because of their 
expertise. There are members of legislative committees who feel 
that police officers and district attorneys and public defenders and 
representatives of the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] do 
have a level of expertise regarding the areas in which they 
legislate that ought to be used, and I think rightly so. 

So I don't want to leave you with the idea that lobbyists 


are invariably a pernicious force. I think those lobbyists that 
represent largely monied interests can and often do have an 
inordinate amount of influence, which is exerted privately rather 
than in any public form, and I don't think that that is healthy in 
our society. 

LABERGE: Do you think that will increase with the proposition that passed 
of limiting the legislators' terms? 

KLINE: No. That's Prop. 140. 1 I think Prop. 140 is an illusion. I think 

it's emotionally satisfying for people to think that by limiting 
terms they are somehow going to ensure that better people 
represent them who are less in the thrall of lobbyists. I think 
there's no reason to believe that. I think if anything, Prop. 140 is 
going to increase, not diminish, the power of lobbyists, because 
few legislators will be in the legislature long enough to develop 
the expertise that is necessary in many instances to thwart the 
improper or excessive influence of powerful special interests. I 
think that many members of the assembly and senate who know 
their tenure is limited are going to be looking for positions in the 
private sector that lobbyists can help them secure. Also, by 
forcing a reduction in legislative staff, members of the legislature 
will have less access to independent experts than they did 
previously, and will also for this reason be more dependent upon 
lobbyists. So I don't think Prop. 140 is a step forward in 

LABERGE: Anything more on the legislature, your view of how Jerry Brown 

1. Proposition 140 (November 1990). 


worked with the legislature or your workings with it? 
KLINE: I don't believe that Jerry Brown was as effective with the 

legislative body as I think he should have been. He had never 
been a legislator, unlike the present governor [Pete Wilson] and 
George Deukmejian before him. He also lacked the personality to 
get along comfortably with a lot of legislators or those legislators 
whose views he didn't respect or whose motives he questioned. 
He operated more in his head than in his heart sometimes, and 
he was a bit more impatient with the legislature than I think he 
should have been, and I also think he was unduly confident in his 
ability to lead through exhortation. 

Now, this is not to say that he didn't have some great 
successes. The greatest one, I think, was the creation of the 
Agricultural Labor Relations Board, 1 which was very difficult to 
do. He had many others. The creation of the California 
Conservation Corps is another enduring legacy that he must be 
given virtually all the credit for. The Coastal Act 2 and many 
other environmental measures are also to his credit. So, while he 
did have his successes, I think he might have had more if he had 
had legislative experience. 

On the other hand, I must say this. I do think, frankly, 
that he was more effective than George Deukmejian, even though 
George Deukmejian did have legislative experience. I don't think 

1. Created by S.B. 1, Agricultural Labor Relations Act, 1975 Third Ex. 
Sess., Gal. Stat., ch. 1 (1975). 

2. Nejedly-Hart State, Urban, and Coastal Bond Act, 1975-76 Reg. Sess., 
Cal. Stat., ch. 259 (1976). 


Jerry Brown was as distant a personality as Deukmejian, or 
Reagan, for that matter. At that time, he was not as avuncular 
and personable as many powerful legislators undoubtedly would 
have liked. I don't think he had the ability to go along with 
legislative agendas that he didn't share. 

LABERGE: What about the Agricultural Labor Relations Bill, what was your 
involvement in that? 

KLINE: I didn't have much involvement in that. I was around for that, 

but I was not directly involved in that. 

LABERGE: Could you say something about the way he got support for that? 

KLINE: Yes, he developed a level of excitement. He met, he had intense 

late-night meetings with powerful agricultural interests like 
[Robert] Bob Gallo, I remember in particular, and as well with 
Cesar Chavez. He developed a working relationship with the key 
players on the farmworkers' side and in the agricultural 
community, and he then involved the legislative leadership in the 
discussions that he was having. I think the level of excitement 
that he generated was key. 

Keep in mind this was early in his first term. He was a 
new governor; didn't get elected overwhelmingly, but he did early 
on have very, very strong support through the polls that I think 
rendered him a formidable leader from the legislative point of 
view at that time. It was something; he created the impression 
that it was going to happen, and you were either going to get on 
the train or you were going to be left behind. And if you got on 
the train, you have an ability to fashion the measure that 
resulted. That's, I think, what really contributed to that success. 


LABERGE: How about addressing water issues during his governorship, 

particularly the 160-acre limit? 

KLINE: I'm not sure that Jerry Brown will go down in history as having 

had an enormous effect on the solution to the water problems of 
this state, but apart from his father, I don't think any other 
governor in this century is going to go down having such a 
success either. Water is the most intractable of the important 
issues confronting this state and the most difficult to resolve. 

There was a period in there, in the mid- to late seventies, 
when we also had a drought, and sometimes a drought does 
create, as we're now learning, the sort of crisis that will enable 
people to perceive possibilities that their minds would otherwise 
be closed to. But that drought was not long enough, and Jerry 
Brown's levers of influence were not powerful enough to effect 
any great change. 

Now, what was happening between 1978 and 1980 on the 
federal level was an attempt by the [President Jimmy] Carter 
administration to reconsider the provision of the Reclamation 
Act, 1 which was enacted early in the twentieth century, that 
imposed this 160-acre limitation. Essentially, what the 
Reclamation Act said was that in order to qualify for the very 
heavy federal subsidy on water in the Central Valley, people who 
received water from the federal water project were limited to 
family farmers, those who farmed 160 acres or less. 

The 160-acre limitation was never seriously enforced in 

1. Reclamation Act of 1902, 32 Stat. 388 (1902). 


California, if anywhere else in the West. The value of the federal 
water subsidy to California agriculture cannot be underestimated. 
It is in the many, many billions of dollars. If the farmers were 
required to pay the full cost of the water they received from the 
federal system, then California farmers since the fifties would 
have paid many, many billions of dollars more than in fact they 

Many feel that nonenforcement of the 160-acre limitation 
has many adverse consequences for our society. First and 
perhaps most obviously is that it is not being used to advance the 
interests of small farmers, but is instead advancing the interests 
of large corporate farmers who are least in need of this sort of 
subsidy, so that there is a misuse or perversion of the subsidy. 

But there are many other adverse consequences: cheap 
water has financed the development of marginal land that 
probably should not have been put into production. It also 
encouraged the use of mechanization and pesticides and so forth 
because the size of the farms that are flourishing as a result of 
this subsidy were thought to require the heavy use of chemicals. 

In any event, Brown was asked by the Carter administration 
to get involved in this reconsideration. I was his appointee to 
something called the San Luis Project, which was chaired by the 
solicitor of the Department of the Interior [Leo Krulitz] . The 
Secretary of the Interior at that time was Cecil Andrus, who had 
previously been the governor of Idaho and is today, I believe, 
now again the governor of that state. 

There were a lot of recommendations proposed by this 





project, but, in the final analysis, the agricultural interests of the 
country, and particularly the agricultural interests of the Central 
Valley of California, bottled up those reforms in committee and 
not much came out of it. 

It may be that that's going to change now. Because of the 
present drought, there's much less willingness in California to 
indulge the special rights of farmers with respect to water 
allocations. And secondly, [Representative] George Miller, a 
congressman from Contra Costa County, is about to become the 
chairman of the House Interior Committee because Representative 
Morris Udall has indicated he's going to retire at the end of this 
term. George Miller has always been one of the great critics of 
those provisions in the Reclamation Act that have been used by 
farmers to keep a subsidy that people doubt they were ever 
intended to receive. It will be interesting to see what happens. 

I can't say, though, that the Brown administration was a 
major player on this. This is really a federal issue, and California 
has very little to say about the allocation of federal water, even 
within our own state. We have some controls over it, but it's not 
the sort of issue that a governor can easily influence. Any 

Could we talk about either your appointment to the bench and 
your experience on the bench, or your assessment of Jerry 
Brown's whole governorship-its success or how you would judge 
success for a governor? 

Well, let me start off with going on the bench, because . . . 
OK, because then we could wrap it up with . . . 


KLINE: Yes. I probably should have gone on the bench sooner than I 

did. I didn't really come to Sacramento with a political 
background, as I'm sure I've indicated at the outset of this 
interview. My background was really legal. The six years I spent 
in Sacramento gave me an extraordinary education. I think I 
learned a lot about California, about politics, about people, about 

It was interesting also because my relationship with the 
governor gave me a lot more freedom than others in his 
administration had. I didn't have a department that I had to 
administer. I didn't have to worry about a budget for an agency. 
I was in the governor's office. I was right at the nerve center of 
the administration. I had the freedom to get involved in 
legislative issues or legal issues or other substantive issues or the 
appointment process, and it was such an interesting experience 
that I think I may have stayed on longer than I should have. 

In any event, I think my career probably prepared me more 
for the role of an appellate judge than it did any other single 
thing. Because-my poverty law and public interest practice and 
my practice in Wall Street had been almost entirely federal 
courts-I thought that appointment to the San Francisco Superior 
Court would teach me something . . . 

[End Tape 4, Side A] 

[Begin Tape 4, Side B] 

LABERGE: OK, you were talking about becoming a superior court judge. 

KLINE: Right. I'm not sure that I realized it at the time, but I now feel 

that the San Francisco Superior Court is one of the most 


interesting trial courts in America. Now, I know that's an 
extravagant statement, but I think I can support it. Basically, 
there are three reasons. 

First, it is in a city that generates interesting cases. San 
Francisco is a commercial center, it's a culturally diverse place, 
and it is the sort of city that, as I say, develops interesting types 
of cases: civil cases, constitutional cases, criminal cases, and so 

The second reason is that the city has a history of a very 
talented trial bar. It's a lot easier and more interesting to be a 
judge if the lawyers practicing before you are able than if they 
are not. Now, I am sure that there are probably more great 
lawyers in Los Angeles than there are in San Francisco, simply 
because of the different sizes of the two cities, but I do believe 
that the lawyers who practice in court in San Francisco are 
probably unexcelled, that they probably are an abler group than 
the thousands who appear in the trial courts of other larger cities 
in California. I'm not sure why that is, but it's easy to show that 
San Francisco has produced an inordinate number of the great 
trial lawyers of this state and nation. So the quality of the 
lawyers is the second reason. 

The third reason, though, I think is the most important. 
That is because San Francisco is the smallest of the metropolitan 
counties, and it is the size of the county that determines the size 
of the bench. When I was on the superior court there were only 
twenty-seven superior court judges here. There were more than 
forty in Santa Clara County and Alameda County. At that time 







there were about three or four hundred superior court judges in 
Los Angeles and fifty or sixty in Orange County and San Diego 

Now, a small superior court in a big city is an anomaly. 
What it means for a judge is that you can easily obtain an 
extraordinary amount of diverse legal experience. The day that I 
got sworn in to the superior court, the presiding judge asked me 
a question that I would never have been asked had I been 
appointed in any other large metropolitan court in the state, and 
the question is, "What would you like to do?" My answer was, 
"Everything." In about three years on the trial court, I did 
succeed in that goal; I sat on everything that a superior court 
judge presides over. I sat in the probate court, I sat in the 
criminal courts, I sat in the juvenile courts, I presided over the 
mental health calendar, I tried the biggest divorce in the modern 
history of the city. 
Which one was that? 

That was the Montandan-Willsey divorce case. I sat in scores of 
very interesting, complex civil cases. In short, I learned a lot. 

It's also a very collegial court, always has been, or at least 
in the years that I've been familiar with it. I made a lot of good 
friends, I learned a lot, and in some ways I'm sorry that events 
didn't make it wise for me to stay longer than I was able to. 
Who are some of the lawyers that you think are the best, or isn't 
that fair for you to say? 
The best that I know? 
The best that have, for instance, tried cases before you? 


KLINE: Well, on the criminal side, I'd say [Alfred G.] Al Chiantelli. He's 

now a judge. [Douglas] Doug Munson. He's also now a judge. 
Hugh Levine. He's now a criminal defense lawyer; at the time, 
he was a district attorney. George Walker. He's still one of the 
outstanding criminal defense lawyers in San Francisco. [James 
A.] Jim Lassart, [Stuart] Stu Kinder. 

On the civil side, there were so many. Gosh, I don't know 
where to begin. [William] Bill O'Brien, [Ronald] Ron Rouda, 
Jerry Falk, LeRoy Hersh, Charles Morgan, [David] Dave Phillips. 

LABERGE: It's kind of funny because before, we had talked about how 

people thought you were antilawyer also, and the state bar wrote 
an article about you, blasting your statements about . . . 

KLINE: No, I was the one who wrote the article, and they censured me 

as a result of the article. I wrote an article in the State Bar 
Journal 1 I think it was in 1978, asserting in effect that lawyers 
were really part of the problem, not part of the solution, that 
lawyers were more frequently opposing needed reform than 
supporting them. I'm talking about court reforms. As a result, 
the president of the state bar at the time-he was an Orange 
County lawyer, a nice fellow named [ ] Gar Shallenberger-held 
a press conference and bitterly attacked me as being antilawyer. 
I've always thought of myself as being prolawyer. It may 
be that I hold lawyers to a higher standard than I do other 

1. J. Anthony Kline, "Law Reform and the Courts: More Power to the 
People or to the Profession?" 53 California State Bar Association Journal 14 
(Jan./Feb. 1978). 


professional groups, but I think that's justified, given the role of 
lawyers, who stand between the people and the constitution, and 
who have more to do with the enforcement of the law and the 
quality of justice than any other group in our society. I don't 
think it's unreasonable to hold them to a high standard. 

But I've never had a bad feeling about lawyers or the legal 
profession. I've been frankly rather amazed that Jerry Brown and 
I were seen as antilawyer or antijudge or anticourt. We were 
both law clerks in the supreme court, as I think I've mentioned, 
and both practiced law. My life has been committed to the law. 
I love it; I can't imagine doing anything else. Most of my friends 
are lawyers. 

Yes, I have been critical of the legal profession from time to 
time, but I think that treating me as antilawyer is very, very 
unfair. I think if you want to get a comment of a person who 
knows me quite well and who was involved with the state bar 
when they did attack me was Charles Clifford. He's a partner at 
Heller, Ehrman, White, and McAuliffe here in San Francisco. He 
was on the board of governors of the state bar at the time I was 
censured, and he became the president of the state bar the next 
year. He knows me, I think, well enough. I'd be very, very 
surprised if Charlie thinks today that I'm antilawyer or that I 
really ever was. I think Charlie was more embarrassed for the 
bar than he was for me. 

I should also say, and I don't say this happily, that being 
attacked by lawyers, is like being on Richard Nixon's enemies list. 
The mail that I received at the time that the bar attacked me, 


which was reported in the press and on television, was 
embarrassing, I must say. 

LABERGE: Has your experience on the bench changed your view of court 
review, of the need for it or of what kind of court reform we 

KLINE: My ten years on the bench has given me a pretty highly 

developed sense of the limits of the law to solve human problems. 
The older I get, the more experienced I get, the more aware I 
think I become of the limits of the legal process. I think it's 
healthy that we're now trying to find alternatives to litigation. I 
think that this whole movement towards alternative dispute 
resolution is very salutary. I don't think that there is a legal 
answer to every human problem, but we live in a society in 
which the law is so glorified, where the notion of having one's 
day in court is thought to be desirable, which is not true in any 
other society in the world, has created the idea that the courts 
have the ability to right every wrong. They don't. 

On the other hand, I don't want to be misunderstood about 
this, because I believe that our legal institutions, particularly the 
courts, are more responsible than any other single factor for the 
quality of justice in this country, which is unexcelled in the 
world. I guess that that may sound like a contradiction, the fact 
that on the one hand I have a more constrained view of what it's 
possible for the courts to do, and yet still believe that the courts 
have done more here than they have done anywhere. I don't 
think that's really a contradiction, because if we are going to 
preserve the effectiveness of our courts, we cannot have 


unrealistic expectations about what they can achieve. 

In any event, I have enormously enjoyed being a judge. 
There are very few people in our society who can say, as a judge 
can, that he is accountable only to the truth as he sees it. I'm 
sure I could earn a lot more money in private practice, but I can't 
imagine leaving this job for that reason. I know an awful lot of 
lawyers who earn four and five times as much as I do, who 
would leave their job for mine in a minute. The psychic rewards 
of being a judge are considerable. There are very few issues in 
our society that don't come into the courts, there are very few 
issues that we don't see. The diversity of issues is a very 
rewarding thing professionally. 

LABERGE: Did Jerry Brown appoint you to the court of appeal? I'm looking 
at the. ... He must have. Yes. 

KLINE: Yes, he appointed me to the superior court in 1980, and at the 

end of 1982 he elevated me to my present position as presiding 
justice of the court of appeal. 

LABERGE: Do you want to comment on the appointment of Rose Bird as 
chief justice? That's something we haven't touched on, but I 
don't know if you want to. 

What was your involvement and your reflection on the 
appointment of Rose Bird as chief justice of the supreme court? 

KLINE: I did not conceive of that idea, although many people think I did. 

LABERGE: That sets the record straight. 

KLINE: Yes. In fact, I was somewhat opposed to her appointment as 

chief justice, although I was supportive of her appointment to the 


supreme court. It was Jerry Brown who initiated the idea of 
appointing Rose chief justice. But I worked strongly to see that 
she would be confirmed, and was glad that she was. 

The misgivings I had and that many others in the Brown 
administration had--or maybe not many, but certainly several 
other members of the cabinet-was that as talented and as able as 
Rose Bird was, she was not temperamentally suited to be the 
presiding justice of a collegial body. There was a stiff-necked 
aspect to Rose. She could be a bit self-righteous and was 
sometimes unduly suspicious of the motives of others. She 
tended to see people as either for her or against her, and I think 
that she felt that many more people were against her than really 
were, but over time her suspicions did generate animosities and 
thus became in some sense a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rose didn't 
have the ability to exert leadership over institutions consisting of 
people who could not be fired and who were very jealous of their 
own prerogatives as constitutional officers. 

I guess that in retrospect, the appointment of Rose Bird as 
chief justice was probably the biggest mistake that Jerry Brown 
made as governor. I think the reason he did it was first, he 
believed that she was extremely intelligent, and she was. I think 
he also believed that she was highly principled, and she was. 
And finally, and not least of all, I think he believed that her 
appointment would shake up the judiciary, which he felt needed 
to be shaken up. He was much more right about that than I 
think he ever understood, and I think that therein lay the 


The problem was not that Rose was not a member of an 
old-boy network. The problem was that Rose lacked the ability 
to persuade the members of her own branch of government and 
the public at large that she did not have an ideological agenda 
that she was determined to impose on society. In fact, I think 
she created the opposite impression. But in any event, I think 
that Jerry Brown wanted to appoint a strong woman to an 
institution that had been a bastion of men from the beginning as 
a symbol that he was bent on opening up that institution to the 
diversity-the ethnic, racial diversity-of this state, and I think that 
was a good impulse. 

LABERGE: Were you surprised when both she and [Justice] Cruz Reynoso 
and [Justice] Joseph Grodin were voted out? 

KLINE: No, I wasn't surprised by then. I was a little surprised that 

Grodin and Reynoso were defeated, but I wasn't shocked by it. I 
think that by that time the antipathy to Rose had grown so 
widespread and she had demonstrated such an inability to alter 
the negative views of her and the court that it was a foregone 

I think the real issue that did her in was the death penalty. 
There was then overwhelming support for the death penalty. 
Most people believed she simply would not tolerate its 
application. She had never voted to affirm a judgment in any 
one of the scores of death penalty cases that were presented to 
her in the, I believe it was eight years, that she was on the 
supreme court. In the final analysis, for most people it became a 
referendum on the death penalty, the result of which was a 


foregone conclusion. 

It may be that Rose would have been unable to avoid that 
result even if she had been more skilled and less suspicious and 
more personable. I don't think we'll ever know the answer to 

LABERGE: Would you like to sum up Jerry Brown's success as a governor? 

KLINE: Tm not sure that the time is right to totally sum up Jerry Brown's 

success as a governor. Or, not whether the time is right but, 
whether I'm the right person to do that. I do believe that Jerry 
Brown was a good governor, and I believe, I think, that history 
will reflect more favorably on him than some people today 
believe. He was much more open-minded, much more inquisitive 
than elected officials ordinarily are. I think he was much more 
willing to listen to people whose background was different than 
his own than most people are. And I think he had a greater 
ability to stimulate people than most elected officials have. 

One of the things that plagued him was that this open- 
mindedness and inquisitiveness also had some adverse 
consequences. Many people don't want leaders who are 
inquisitive or who are willing to entertain alternatives to 
conventional approaches. It's a little unsettling to them. I'll give 
you a specific example. 

During the eight years that Ronald Reagan was governor, 
the people in the state who wanted support for fluoridating water 
got nowhere in Sacramento. For some reason I've never fully 
understood, conservatives in America believe that fluoridation is a 
collectivist Communist plot, so Reagan and his people never had 


any interest in efforts to fluoridate water. 

Well, after the election of Brown, supporters of flouridation 
felt that the answer to their prayers had arrived, and a meeting 
was convened in the governor's office so he could learn who 
these people were, what their ideas were, what it is they wanted 
to accomplish, and what specific measures they wanted him to 

At some point in the meeting, the governor interrupted, and 
in effect what he said was this: "Wait a minute. The problem is 
that our kids have rotten teeth. The reason they have rotten 
teeth is that they eat Hostess Twinkies and drink Coca-Cola. But 
instead of changing the eating habits of our youth, you want to 
put a chemical in the water." Well, a lot of jaws dropped in that 

Actually, Jerry Brown was to some extent just being playful. 
I don't think he was opposed to fluoridation, and I think that he 
did end up giving them the support that they wanted. But his 
challenge to the conventional wisdom that they had committed 
themselves to was very, very unsettling. That was indicative to 
me of a problem that Jerry Brown was going to have and indeed 
did have with many other constituencies and in many other 
connections in the years to come. 

Jerry Brown is seen as being an anti-elitist by many groups. 
This is partly the result of the fact that he enjoyed appointing 
public members who were not experts to boards and commissions 
that regulated certain trades and professions. For example, he 
put nonlawyers on the board of governors of the state bar, and 






he outraged doctors when he appointed nurses to the Board of 
Medical Quality Assurance. Things of this sort were not 
calculated to endear him to many powerful groups in the state. 
In the final analysis, I think he was undone by what some people 
came to describe as a "flaky" quality. 

However, he was intellectually the most substantive 
governor this state has had as long as I've been here. I think he 
was also much more willing than some governors and other 
elected officials have been to tackle issues, even if he felt he was 
not advancing a popular view. For example, it was not easy for 
him to veto the death penalty at a time when he knew it had 
overwhelming support. There were other examples. 

I also found that he was a lot of fun to work with. He had 
a great sense of humor. I don't think he took himself too 
seriously or as seriously as a lot of people in that position did. 
He could take criticism very easily. He didn't take criticism 
personally. And I think he had a highly developed sense that it's 
a brief interlude on this lugubrious planet and you ought to 
accomplish as much as you can in the brief time allotted. 
Do you want to end there, or are there other issues you'd like to 
comment on? 

No. I can't think of anything. [Looks through papers] 
There are some things we haven't talked about. 
Yes. You did ask me once what a typical day in the governor's 
office was like. My answer is that there was no such thing as a 
typical day. Unlike Ronald Reagan, who came in at nine and left 
at five, Jerry Brown was a bit more erratic. He was really a 


night person. Sometimes he wouldn't come into the office until 
ten or eleven, but when he was in Sacramento he rarely left the 
office before midnight and was often there much later than that. 
He was a much more spontaneous person who was much more 
difficult for his staff to control than I think some governors are. 

LABERGE: Including you? 

KLINE: Oh, yes, including me. I don't think Jerry Brown was ever in the 

thrall of his staff to the extent that I know Ronald Reagan was. 
Many of the secretaries and others that were in the governor's 
office when Jerry Brown was there had been there under Ronald 
Reagan and [Governor] Pat Brown, and a few even earlier than 
that- [Governor Goodwin] Goodie Knight-so you couldn't help if 
you were there but hear from them what these other governors 
were like. And I know Pat Brown quite well and I know what 
dealing with him is like. 

Jerry was much, much more spontaneous, was not as linear 
in his thinking. One of the problems that he had was that he 
was not as good at consulting others before he took a position as 
most leaders of the legislature have to be. He would call up Leo 
McCarthy or [Senator James] Jim Mills, who were then speaker 
of the assembly and president pro tern of the senate, with an idea 
in the middle of the night and say, "Let's just do it ..." 

[End Tape 4, Side B] 

[Begin Tape 5, Side A] 

KLINE: You couldn't do anything of any significance without building a 

consensus among the leadership in your party and the chairmen 
of your committees. I'm not sure Jerry Brown always fully 




appreciated that. Once he became persuaded that a particular 
course of action should be taken, he got very frustrated by having 
to go through a long, deliberative process. 

But although he was headstrong, he was, as I think I've 
already indicated, much more creative and much more 
imaginative than most political figures. That's what got him in 
trouble. That's what created this notion that he was 
unconventional or flaky, but I think that . . . 

. . . Before that, I was saying that while he was headstrong and 
sometimes got easily frustrated, he was also an extraordinarily 
creative and imaginative leader. My point is that in a state like 
this, at this point in history when change is coming so quickly to 
this state, that you do need the kind of creative thinking at the 
upper reaches of government that Jerry Brown had. Some of the 
things that Jerry Brown said are easy to ridicule, but my sense is 
that in the long view of history he will be seen as a much more 
productive thinker, compassionate leader, and effective governor, 
than some people today realize. We'll see. 
Shall we end? 

Yes. Well, there is one. ... I don't know if I mentioned it 
earlier, but one point I want to emphasize is the type of people 
Jerry Brown brought into state government. This is an area in 
which Jerry Brown has changed the California reality, and I think 
in a positive way. It was not so easy in 1975 and '76 and '77 to 
appoint minorities and women to powerful positions that had 
never seen a minority or a woman in the history of the state. I'm 




not just talking about the supreme court, I'm talking about the 
Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission. I'm 
talking about the trial courts. I'm talking about a whole array of 
regulatory bodies that affect water and power and that make a 
real difference in the day-to-day life of California. He was 
accused by many people of appointing women and minorities 
simply to curry favor with these constituencies, and that in doing 
so he was compromising quality, the implication being that if you 
were going to appoint minorities and women, then you were not 
going to appoint people who were qualified. 

This is, of course, racist and sexist, but in the mid-seventies 
that was the prevailing view of many, many people in powerful 
positions and many people in general. He just defied that, and I 
think he's just changed the way that people think. I don't know 
if I said it earlier on this tape, but I remember in 1975, his first 
judicial appointment was to the superior court in Riverside 

You have given that story. 

Did I talk about that? Right. Well, I'll just use that as an 
example. I won't repeat it. But what the thinking was then, 
that's not the thinking today. So George Deukmejian, Pete 
Wilson, and future governors, whether they like it or not, or 
whether they realize it or not, even, are going to be measured to 
a considerable extent by the standard that Jerry Brown set. I 
don't think any chief executive of any country, let alone any of 
the states, has appointed as many women and people of color to 
important positions as Jerry Brown did in the eight years that he 


was governor. 

LABERGE: I would say you had quite a bit to do with it, don't you think? 

KLINE: Well, yes, I did have a lot to do with it, but I don't want to 

create the impression that I had to twist Jerry Brown's arm. 
Jerry Brown and I really were on the same wavelength on this. 
My view is that government is not legitimate if it isn't seen by 
the mass of people as reflecting its own values and own life 

As applied to the courts, for example, Jerry Brown's attempt 
to bring the complexion and sex and ethnic makeup of the 
judiciary more into line with that of the people of this state 
strengthened respect for judicial institutions, didn't weaken it. I 
think it's completely untrue to suggest that the women and 
minorities that he was appointing were less able than the white 
males that he appointed. Some of the greatest judges he 
appointed were people of color. One that comes immediately to 
mind is Bernard Jefferson, one of the greatest judges in the 
history of California. There are many, many others. So I think 
that that is a legacy also that Jerry Brown will be credited for in 
the final analysis. 

LABERGE: Thank you very much for your time. 

[End Tape 5, Side A] 

[Tape 5, Side B not recorded] 


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